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@@@@ ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Contest Winners Announced! @@@@ A MIGHTY writer change for AVENGERS! @@@@ superhero interviews Bruce Timm! @@@@ Previews of VIXEN & MADAME MIRAGE! @@@@


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.

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here with the winners of last week’s ARCHER & ARMSTRONG: FIRST IMPRESSIONS Trade that will be released very soon from Valiant in stores now! This was one of our most popular contests to date. There sure seem to be a lot of A&A fans out there. Here are the winners and the casting picks for an ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Movie that got them there!

10 Winners of a Copy of ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Hardcover Trade Paperback!

Vikram Weet picked Archer: James McAvoy Armstrong: Brendan Gleeson
Kurt Clawes picked: Archer: Michael Cera Armstrong: Kevin Smith
Bobby Cave picked: Archer: Ben Foster Armstrong: Kevin James
Aaron Fayne picked: Archer: Hayden Christensen Armstrong: John Goodman
Mark Pressley picked: Archer: Emile Hirsch Armstrong: Steve Schirripa
Steve Kriozere picked: Archer: Adam Brody Armstrong: Mickey Rourke
Rob Patey picked: Archer: Orlando Bloom Armstrong: Robbie Coltrane
Keith Callbeck picked: Archer: Ryan Reynolds Armstrong: Eddie Izzard
Eric Hardie picked: Archer: Taylor Kitsch Armstrong: Ron Perlman
Anthony Koch picked: Archer: David Gallagher Armstrong: Nick Frost

GRAND PRIZE Autographed copy of A&A: FI HC!

Scott Arnold picked: Archer: Ryan Gosling Armstrong: Jeff Bridges
Neil Cameron picked: Archer: Joseph Gordon Levitt (Bug’s personal fave pick for Archer!) Armstrong: Bob Hoskins
Mercies May picked: Archer: Chris Evans Armstrong: Russel Crowe (Bug’s personal fave pick for Armstrong!)
Alex Weaver picked: Archer: Max Thieriot Armstrong: Rober Downey, Jr.
Craig Partin picked: Archer: Eminem Armstrong: Bill Murray

Congrats to all of the winners! My personal picks would be Nick Stahl (T3, CARNIVALE, SIN CITY) as Archer and maybe the offbeat humor of Zach Galifianakis as Armstrong, although I love the idea of having Russell Crowe for the part.
And now, the news!

It’s Stones Throw back with another recap of the week’s headlines in comics, including updates from the Baltimore Comic-Con. As always, click on the links for the original stories and further information, if so inclined. Away we go…

@ Harvey Award winners announced, with wins for Frank Quitely, ALL STAR SUPERMAN, SCOTT PILGRIM, Brian K. Vaughan, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY and the PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP, among others…
@ BALTIMORE COMIC-CON! Brian Bendis is off MIGHTY AVENGERS as of #20! Dan Slott is taking over, with Khoi Pham on art duties! Christos Gage will fill Slott’s place on AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE!
@ Bendis and Maleev’s SPIDER-WOMAN: AGENT OF S.W.O.R.D. is set to debut in March 2009…
@ Billy Tucci brings three Japanese-American veterans onstage to promote his new SGT. ROCK comic…
@ Announced on Sunday, Mark Millar is gearing up for a sequel to his miniseries CHOSEN, with the new title AMERICAN JESUS at Image…
@ In other news, Jay Faerber’s @$$hole-approved superhero series DYNAMO 5 will get a new reader-friendly #0 in January…
@ Image will be debuting three new series under the collective heading “Man of Action” in February: Duncan Rouleau’s THE GREAT UNKNOWN, Steven Seagle’s SOUL KISS, and Joe Kelly’s BAD DOG, plus a new collection of Joe Casey and Charlie Adlard’s superhero noir CODEFLESH. Full details here
@ Better late than never, IDW may have their Obama and McCain comics coming soon just in time for the election, but you’ll only find Senator Hillary Clinton’s comic book biography at Bluewater in January…
@ Glen Brunswick and DanMcDaid’s space-faring new series at Image, JERSEY GODS, will have covers from cosmic comics talents like Mike Allred, Paul Pope, Darwyn Cooke and Erik Larsen, as well as back-ups from Mark Waid and Phil Hester…
@ Paul Dini’s creation Jingle Belle stars in SANTA CLAUS VS. FRANKENSTEIN from Top Cow’s new “Dinicartoons” funnybook imprint in November…
@ Mark Millar and Tony Harris’ WAR HEROES has been optioned for a film adaptation by Columbia Pictures…
@ Be sure to check out a live webcast at Radical Comics’ website from Steve Niles this Tuesday, September 30th at 6:00PM Pacific. He’ll be talking about his new book CITY OF DUST. Also look for an interview with Mr. Niles by our very own Ambush Bug in an upcoming edition of Shoot the Messenger…
@ Lastly, Marvel’s slightly creepy Stephen Colbert fixation looks set to continue unabated in next month’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #537, in which the TV personality gets a full eight-page backup story written by Mark Waid…

And now let’s check out an interview with Bruce Timm, completing superhero’s three part interview with the creators of the new WONDER WOMAN Cartoon!

superhero chats with Bruce Timm!

Greetings, superhero here. The following is the third part of a three part interview I was involved in for the Wonder Woman straight to DVD movie that launches in February ’09.
But before I get to the interview I have a couple of thank you’s to throw out there. First, I need to thank Sleazy G. It was Sleazy who tossed me this opportunity and I can’t thank him enough. I didn’t think this would be as fun as it was and I gotta thank Sleaze for getting me into this. It was the highlight of my time at SDCC this year.
Next I have to thank my pal Kevin Murphy. Kevin Murphy is a journalist by trade and when he found out that I was being given this chance he encouraged me to go and do it. Not only that, but the guy actually gave me one of his old tape recorders. To keep. Now if that’s not a good egg I don’t know what is. Be sure to check out Kevin’s website at Thanks for the encouragement, Kev. You are the man.
The last, but by far not least, person I must give thanks to is my wife, Amy. Amy did all the hard stuff for this interview in that she sat down and transcribed the whole damn thing. I type about as fast as a retarded chimp with broken knuckles and my beautiful wife stepped up to the plate and did all the hard work. They don’t make women like that anymore and I just want the world to know that if there is a Wonder Woman out there she is my wife.
One more thing. To give credit where credit is due I have to let everyone know that this interview was what is called a round table interview. I was one of four other people asking questions so I have to give them their due here. The other interviewers were: Matt Hazuda from, Janet Hetherington of, Derek McCaw of, and a gentleman from Wizard Magazine whose name I can’t remember because he never gave me his card. But he was a nice guy and I hope he forgives me for not including his name here.
In any case, here’s the interview. Hope you all enjoy it!

superhero: The designs for Wonder Woman, did you have a strong hand in that as well?

BT: Oh no, it’s all Lauren. Well, because these direct to videos are not supposed to be a continuation of the TV franchise that I’ve been working on for 20 years, so the challenge is always to come up with a new design for each one of these movies that’s specific to that film. And Lauren has been, she rapidly rose through the ranks. You know she started with us as a storyboard artist on JLU and she quickly became the star storyboard person on our crew and next moved into directing.

superhero: Is this an adaptation of George Perez’s “Gods and Monsters” run on Wonder Woman?

BT: This isn’t a specific adaptation of George’s run. We tried to pull elements of lots of different versions of Wonder Woman and just cram it all into one movie. So there’s lots of golden age elements from Wonder Woman’s past, there’s a bit of the George Perez reboot, there’s even some stuff from the Linda Carter version of the TV show. So it’s kinda like we always do with all these characters, we have these huge, massive histories of these characters from all different kinds of media and all have good parts and bad parts and we always try to cherry pick and say “we like that part and that part, and let’s do that and that” and just this great mash up of all the greatest hits. And that’s how we end up with these movies.

superhero: How was it decided upon to pick Wonder Woman as the next movie to do? Was there a desire to do it after Warner Bros. failed to start a live action franchise?

BT: No, it kinda happened overlapping. It sometimes happens when a DC character gets optioned for a theatrical; sometimes we’re told you can’t use that character in animation for now. That wasn’t the case here; we knew they were trying to fast track a live action movie at the same time we were doing ours. But for once it was like “Fine, you can have competing WW movies.” It wasn’t a problem. And then when the live action went away, again it really had no effect on us one way or another. We were going to do what we were going to do no matter what. The trickiest part of it was that I’d actually gotten a hold of the script Joss Whedon had written for the live action movie and I read it and I went “God, I just wanna make this.” Cause I thought it was really good. But I knew we couldn’t, but I was really tempted to steal little bits and pieces from it, but I couldn’t. I had to stay away from it in case it does get made. So we went back to square one with our writers and again went back to the comics and came up with our own version of the Wonder Woman mythos. But as to why we chose her, she was kind of an obvious candidate because she was the only one of the big three that didn’t have her own series in animation. Obviously she played a big part in the JL series, but that was part of a big ensemble. And she is one of the top three characters in DC comics, so it was kinda a no brainer, it’s like “Oh yeah, we gotta do a Wonder Woman movie”.

superhero: What do you think fans of Wonder Woman, fans of your previous projects are going to be most excited about in this movie?

BT: Well, on “Justice League” we had to go back - we told a very severely truncated version of her origin story in the very first couple of episodes of “Justice League” and it wasn’t exactly true to the letter of the comics, it was true to the spirit, but not the letter of it. So this gave us an opportunity to go back and actually do a full-blown origin story with Steve Trevor and the whole contest and everything. So I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of that. It kinda sounds like we’re pandering, and it’s not really true, but we really made an effort with the Amazons to make them seem credible as this race of really war-like women. So we wanted to make them as bad-ass as possible in terms of their warfare skills, so that meant that the action scenes push the PG boundary a little bit. So the action is definitely stepped up, it’s really moving into – I don’t want to say hardcore – but it’s pretty bad-ass. So hopefully fans will dig that aspect of it.

superhero: At this point in these projects, because obviously DC is doing really well, you’re going to continue doing these. How much of what gets put on the docket is your choice or being dictated by greater forces than you?

BT: Well this is a unique situation, working on these movies, because it’s kind of a three way collaboration with Warner Bros. animation and DC Comics and Home Video/Warner Premier, so we always have to find a consensus. It’s not like someone says “you’ll do this and this.” We all get together and we meet every week and talk about what we’ve got going on right now and what we’ll be doing in the future. So there’s a lot of back and forth and give and take in terms of, we’ll nominate some ideas - what we think would make good movies, and DC has their own ideas and the Home Video people ultimately decide which ones get green lit. So it’s, like I said, it’s collaboration.

superhero: In terms of the action you’re describing did you use any new techniques in the animation, where there any, is it a combination of 2D & 3D or is it all 3D?

BT: All the effects programs, the CGI programs are constantly being upgraded every year and our overseas studios actually initiated the idea of using more CGI elements. It wasn’t something we specifically requested, it actually makes their job a little bit easier, for instance in drawing vehicles, you know flying vehicles and cars and things. So that was something that’s been in the works for awhile, but every year they come up with new CG design techniques and things, so we just, knowing what they are capable of we’ll ask for certain things and then they are constantly surprising us too, they’ll throw in little effects that we weren’t expecting and we’ll be like “hey, I didn’t know they could do that, that’s nice.” So that’s just something that’s an ongoing thing and constantly being upgraded all the time.

superhero: So is the invisible plane actually CG?

BT: Oh yeah, it will be a CG element.

superhero: And the effect with the lasso, is that any special rendering?

BT: The lasso is pretty much drawn 2D, with effects – sparkles and stuff, but it’s not what we would actually call a CG effect or anything.

superhero: With WW being a female icon, but as far as the books, she’s never really taken off with female readership. Is there anything in this film to give it more appeal to the female viewer ship?

BT: Uh, who knows, you know we didn’t make a conscious effort to make it girl friendly. I think she’s got that built into her character anyway to a degree. I think the entire history of the character, she’s been obviously the most famous female superhero in all of comics. So I think it’s good that young girls have her to look up to as somebody that’s not just a guy with a cape and powers. The trickier aspect is actually the inverse of that equation is, at the same time, Wonder Woman has always been on the fence in terms of popularity with male readership. Certainly not for older readers who can handle it, but young boys especially go through that phase where “girls are icky” and they wouldn’t be caught dead reading Wonder Woman comics or buying WW toys. Once they get past puberty it’s not as big of an issue, but at the same time there’s still is a little bit of reluctance with boys and young men to identify with that character, not that we’re expecting them to actually identify with her. But traditionally there has been a little bit of a problem with marketing female superheroes to a predominately male audience. So again that kinda plays into, not just the Amazon aspect, that fact that we wanted to be true to the nature of the Amazons, but we also wanted to appeal to our male audience that plays violent video games. We wanted to make sure there was a lot of that kind of stuff that would hopefully get them in the door even if they were on the fence about buying a Wonder Woman movie. Once they see that it’s like “300” with breasts, you know it’s like “I’m there!”.

superhero: You don’t think it appeals to young boys?

BT: Um, you know I couldn’t give you a cut off age. Probably young, young, young boys may not be that interested in it, but some would.

superhero: Will this be a continuation of the PG-13 series?

BT: Oh definitely. Well, I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about this, but we’re trying an interesting experiment in marketing this time. What we’re going to try to do is when it’s released on the same day and date we’re gonna do, rather than doing the one disc and two disc edition that are available on the same day. This time the one disc will be a little more family friendly, it will probably have a PG rating. Then the 2 disc special edition in addition to all the extra special features, it will be the more adult PG-13 stuff.

superhero: Were there any big ratings issues?

BT: No, it’s just they’re trying to field their way on how best to market these things and it was something that came up and we thought it was an interesting idea. Rather than go tone the whole thing down, cause we knew some of the action was going to be hard-core, rather than pull it down to a median where it would be safe for all ages we just thought, hey, we want this to be as kick-ass movie as possible so that was kinda the compromise. You know we’ll release it in 2 versions, one that moms who maybe shop at Target will feel a little more comfortable buying for their kids and then a version that’s more for the more hard-core fans.

superhero: Have you made it specifically a cleaner version or is it edited?

BT: It’s both. We’ve actually called to have certain scenes animated twice, with and without blood.

superhero: “Doomsday” recently aired on Cartoon Network and the way they’ve edited it was really poorly done.

BT: That’s what I’ve heard, I haven’t seen it.

superhero: I was just afraid that that was what the editing will be…

BT: No, no we’re going to control the editing ourselves.

superhero: It’s been a few years now since technically the company with the original Bruce Timm animated DC Universe ended. Do you ever have that fear or have any anxiety that fans may look down on any new product not associated with the continuity?

BT: There’s always going to be that. I mean there are people, you go on any message board and some of them are OK with it and moving on and some of them are still bemoaning the fact that we aren’t doing more on that same universe. But you know it was time to move on and that’s the bottom line. It’s not to say we’ll never go back there because actually we do have a Justice League script which a lot of people know about which we actually wrote right at the beginning of the JLU era of “Justice League” which was supposed to transition from JL into JLU and it was a big sprawling adventure with JL vs. the Crime Syndicate. It’s a really terrific script that Ray McDuffy wrote and for a variety of reasons it just didn’t get made. But that comes up in conversation all the time, “hey when are we going to do Worlds Collide, when are we going to do Worlds Collide?” So I’m hoping we’ll actually get to do that one of these days.

superhero: Now would that be by any chance related to the “Batman Beyond” of 2010 or would this be independent?

BT: It’s pretty much independent.

superhero: OK, will we ever see that event from 2010?

BT: No I think that’s an event that’s best alluded to cause I think there’s been enough speculation about that, that whatever we do with it I don’t think we can live up to the image people have in their minds.

superhero: Do you ever feel that the animated universe has gone on long enough where maybe a crisis should happen at some point?

BT: No, I don’t think we have the kinds of continuity issues they had in DC. Are you talking about the Crisis on Infinite Earths which is kinda like the big re-boot that reset everything? If we had continued on with JL, I think we could have gone on for a couple more years without having to starting over.

superhero: There’s so much material out there that you’ve already taken your hand to and adapted incredibly well and fans have been extremely positive about it, what’s next for you after Wonder Woman?

BT: Can’t say anything.

superhero: What would you like to do?

BT: We’re doing them, that’s why I can’t say anything.

superhero: What do you do in your down time?

BT: Down time, what down time? Sleep…

superhero: What’s a project you would love to do that you’re not currently signed on to do?

BT: Oh, there’s a bunch. There’s a bunch and again we may end up doing them so I can’t really - I don’t want to say.

superhero: Is there a status on the Judas Contract?

BT: It’s on hold and will probably be on hold for a little while at least for a variety of arcane reasons.

superhero: Maybe one of the reasons was because it was done on the “Teen Titans”?

BT: Well that’s one of my reasons, personally. I know a lot of fans, this comes up quite often where fans say they want to see it done right. And you know what, I thought they did a great job of it on the “Teen Titans” show. You know, I mean they didn’t have Tara in the nightie smoking a cigarette, which you’re not going to see anyway if you do it PG-13. But other than that I thought they did a really excellent job of it to film. So it does seem a little bit “been there, done that”, but there’s other things keeping it on hold now.

superhero: Do you have any desire, obviously with Darkseid on the “Superman Animated” series, to do something with the New Gods?

BT: Definitely would like to do that. That would be great, yeah.

superhero: You like those characters?

BT: I’d say it’s a safe bet that I like them.

superhero: What do you think of FINAL CRISIS?

BT: Hard to say, it’s only a few issues into it, but I, you know I hear what fans are complaining about with J’onn Jonzz getting killed in kind of a perfunctory manner and stuff, but I’m kinda digging it. I always enjoy Grant’s stuff, so I’m kinda liking it.

superhero: Would you have any desire to work on a script with comic book writers Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison?

BT: Oh, we’ve been talking to lots of people along those lines, so yeah.

superhero: Maybe a Green Lantern project of some sort?

BT: Maybe, could happen.

superhero: Any opinions on the Dark Knight?

BT: I loved it. I’ve seen it twice already. I thought it was terrific.

superhero: You’ve been with DC close to 10 years, now…

BT: Close to 20.

superhero: Has there been a desire to move on to Marvel or any other comic properties?

BT: Yes and no. I mean, yeah I hit certain points where I go, “God, yeah I’d like a little bit of a change.” and then you know I get involved in one of these projects and then I get all pumped up about it again. But you know, not anything specifically Marvel related, but yeah there are other things out there besides DC comics that I would like to take a stab at.

superhero: In galleries on your website I see a lot of your painted work and illustrations and can I ask: what medium you use?

BT: It’s mostly Prisma color markers. I don’t ink with a brush at all, it’s felt pens and stuff. I’m super low tech.

superhero: Get the hell outta here!

BT: (Laughter)

superhero: Much thanks to Mr. Timm and the rest of the people behind the new WONDER WOMAN Cartoon for making this three part interview so fun.

Hey folks, Bug here, spinning the old Spinner Rack to the Future to see some cool previews of books coming your way soon.
First up is VIXEN: RETURN OF THE LION, a five issue miniseries from Pulitzer Prize winning author G. Willow Wilson who is making waves with her new Vertigo series AIR. Although her arc in the monthly JLA book has been a bit slow, to say the least, I’m willing to give this take on one of the coolest members of the JLA Detroit a second chance with this miniseries. Check out this four page preview…

Looks pretty good and that art by Cafu is pretty damn breathtaking. Can’t wait to see what this miniseries and it’s on sale this Wednesday!

Next we have a preview of MADAME MIRAGE. The trade paperback was released from Top Cow last week and we have the entire first issue for your clicking pleasure below. If you liked the first MADAME MIRAGE miniseries, you’ll be pleased to know that a second miniseries is in the works. Check out this extended preview!

Hope you enjoyed that full issue of MADAME MIRAGE. If you did, be sure to check out the trade paperback of the first MADAME MIRAGE miniseries in stores now!

Marvel Versus DC: who wins, Billy Tucci’s veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team or Stephen Colbert?

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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 29, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Wonder Woman...

    by kingben

    is going to be sweet. My personal favorite character. can't wait for the flick

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    It's just a shame

    by slfricky

    That the R2 Edition of Wonder Woman (assuming we get one. We never got New Frontier over here) will probably be just the "Clean" one disc version (We only got a one disc R2 Gotham Knight DVD over here. And even that had the Wonder Woman behinds the scenes feature taken off of it.).

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Is that an inanimate carbon rod in the VIXEN preview?

    by stones_throw

    Guess I'm gonna have to pick it up now.

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 6:37 p.m. CST

    archer and armstrong

    by x-oManowar

    noooooo, you didnt pick mine!! some great picks though. love bloom for archer. these picks really make me want to see a movie version. with the current trend of comics to movies i hope they do one, could be a classic.

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Holy crap! I won?

    by KCViking

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Damn enter button...

    by KCViking

    I figured my choices wouldn't fly.<p>Looking forward to Wonder Woman.Loved their depiction of her in JLU!

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 9:19 a.m. CST

    I didn't know people read Wonder Woman...

    by Joenathan

    hmmm... weird...