The Haven: San Diego Comic-Con 2007

By Andrew Goletz

The San Diego ComicCon has come and gone, and for a 33rd consecutive year I didn’t go.

Some of the things that caught my interest:

Warren Ellis on Astonishing X-Men

Astonishing seems to be the flagship title for Marvel’s mutants and it would be tough to follow the current team, even though frequent delays in shipping have caused me to forget what happened in the last issue. I hadn’t even thought of Ellis as a choice, but it’s a good one. A great one, even. If anyone can keep the electricity going in the book, it’s Ellis.

Indiana Jones Footage

I know more about this film than I should be allowed to. And to be honest with you, until about two weeks ago, I thought this was going to be utter crap. Friends and I have been referring to it as “Indiana Jones and the Lame Adventure.” But seeing Spielberg and Ford on location during the filming of the fourth installment erased the fears I’d been having. They’re all a little older, but they still seem to have that same enthusiasm as they did years ago. I’m thinking Indiana Jones is like pizza, and I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy the next adventure no matter where it leads.

Iron Man Footage

After seeing the clips show from ComicCon, this movie has to be the front runner for must-see movie of 2008. Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark great. In the short clips, he exudes both the charm and confidence needed to carry the role. The short scenes of Iron Man’s debut were incredible and the teases of the red and gold suit – along with Iron Man flying side by side with some fighter jets – were just mind blowing. You’ll have to do a brief search on the net to find this since as of this writing, YouTube has already removed the clips.

Flight of the Living Dead

A zombie outbreak occurs on a plane? Count me in! The trailer has a perfect mix of scares and goofiness, and the concept is just crazy enough to work. My only reservation is that Snakes on a Plane seemed to be the coolest idea ever until I actually watched the film. Here’s hoping FotLD can live up to the potential of the concept.

Lego Indiana Jones: The Game

Lego Star Wars could be the greatest video game idea since Pac Man. The game play is fun for both adults and kids so its one of those rare games that I can play with the kids and we all have just as much fun with it. I knew this was coming, but I didn’t think they’d have any preview images up this quickly. Between this and Lego Batman, I’m going to be playing a lot more video games next year.

New Spider-Man Creative Teams

You’d be correct in guessing that someone who’s devoted so much time to covering one particular story line in a character’s life may be a big fan of that character and you’d be correct. The full new creative teams for The Amazing Spider-Man (soon to be coming out three times a month) were announced in San Diego.

  • Team A: Dan Slott writing and Steve McNiven penciling
  • Team B: Marc Guggenheim writing and Salvador Larrocca penciling
  • Team C: Bob Gale writing and Phil Jimenez penciling
  • Team D: Zeb Wells writing and Chris Bachalo penciling

I have no problems with any of the writers attached to the projects. I wasn’t overly impressed with Slott’s Free Comic Book Day Spider-Man issue but his other work clearly shows that he has the ability to “get” a character like Spider-Man, and McNiven is simply breathtaking as an artist. This will probably be the People’s Choice team.

Marc Guggenheim did a pretty decent run on Wolverine and did what he could with the wildly unpopular Bart Allen version of the Flash. He has a background in television, writing for shows like Law and Order and CSI. Larrocca is hot or cold with me. Sometimes I think the work is outstanding and other times it feels like his pencils are … “unfinished,” I guess is the best word?

Bob Gale wrote Back to the Future. He also wrote a large part of the No Man’s Land story line in the Batman books, which was a crossover that was actually very cool. My only reservation is that his run on Daredevil (between Kevin Smith and Brian Bendis) wasn’t so spectacular. Phil Jimenez is extremely popular and talented and reminds people of George Perez with his style… I just don’t like his Spider-Man.

Zeb Wells worked on the character before and is probably the least well known of the group, but he’s my favorite choice. Wells has a crazy sense of humor and I have fond memories of his work on Spider-Man. The problem is, I’m not so sure about Bachalo’s art. Bachalo is another one of these really popular artists with a unique style, almost like Ramos, but I don’t see that as Spider-Man. Then again, I wasn’t too crazy about Todd McFarlane on Spider-Man and most people view his interpretation as definitive. There have been rumors that John Romita Jr. will be coming back to the character and I hope that’s true, since he IS my favorite Spider-Man artist.

I’m very curious to see not just what these teams have in store, but what Marvel is going to do with the character. There are rumblings that the big unmasking from Civil War will be undone and that the new stories will feature a single Peter Parker. How they manage to do this without a mind wipe or major reboot will be interesting. As a fan of the character for over 20 years, I’ve read the good and the bad and I remain optimistic about the new teams.


Greg Rucka’s new series from Oni Press doesn’t feature any bells or whistles and follows the life of a female private detective in the Portland, Oregon area. Rucka has always had a knack for writing female characters, and he shines in this type of genre as well. I’m really looking forward to reading this one and it sucks that it won’t be out until Fall 2008.


At the end of the last column, I left you all wondering (as I did) whether JM DeMatteis would be contributing to the Life of Reilly book and I’m thrilled to announce that he is.

If you’re keeping track, this means that all the major players from the Clone Saga will now be participating to various degrees on the book. As a Spider-Man fan, it’s also a special thrill to be able to talk to the man who wrote so many great stories with the character from Kraven’s Last Hunt to The Death of Harry Osborn.

DeMatteis is most likely the reason those people who want Ben Reilly care so much about the character. The different creative teams who worked on the Clone Saga all did their parts to bring the character to life and make him interesting and a viable option (at the time) for a replacement to the Peter Parker that people read about for twenty or so years. But it was DeMatteis who gave Ben Reilly his soul.

I’m hoping, just for the sake of being complete now, to get some participation on the project from some of the artists who worked on the project – like Tom Lyle, and Mark Bagley (the only person to work on two different Clone Sagas). My problem is that I’ve never been all that skilled when it comes to interviewing an artist. I know what appeals to my eye, but the technical side of things leaves me at a loss when speaking with them at a deeper level.

It now looks like I’m going to wrap up most of the new interviews and commentary by the end of September. The entire first draft should be completed by then since I’ll be working on going through the old columns and tweaking those in the meantime, as well.
No word on Marvel regarding the use of their art in the book. I’ll try a few more phone calls this week and hopefully have a definitive answer for that before the next column. I just want a firm “no.”

The big decision I’ll be facing relatively soon is whether to pursue a publisher or try to put this out as a self-published venture. I’d always intended it to be self-published, but as more people find out about what I’m doing I’ve been getting some inquiries about possibly putting this out through a publisher.

Self-publishing is a greater risk (and cost), but the potential reward is also that much greater. With this much work being put into the project, I’m reluctant to just give control away to someone else. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak to other creators who have been having troubles getting their projects off the ground, and a light bulb went on in my head. Some of these individuals have real talent, but can’t find a way to get their work seen, can’t get their work put onto a publishing schedule or don’t have the money to do it on their own.

I’m in the fortunate position where I have enough contacts in the business that doing it myself won’t be as difficult as it might be for most people. Several prominent editors will be looking over the draft to make it flow better and I’m going to have access to a lot of publishing resources, including printing discounts, professional typesetting and graphic design work.

So – what if I take all the profit from the book and, instead spending it, I reinvest it into a company? My own company. A company that would be set up to help publish these people. I’m being swayed by some very convincing people to lean toward this idea. We’ll see.

Next week: The return of Glenn Greenberg!