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Mon, August 12th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Mark Millar, Columnist

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Welcome to the seventh weekly installment of Lying In The Gutters, a gossip and rumour column serving the comic book industry by throwing a knife in its back. The traffic lights on each story are my takes on their reliability. Green lets you know I believe it, Amber let's you know I reckon there's something in it somewhere, Red lets you know I think it's quite possibly bullshit. But then you never know. The lights are just an indication - doesn't mean a red can't be true and a green can't be false. Take everything you read with a dash of hydrochloric acid - and if you do repost information here elsewhere, please include a warning to that effect.

And a link back to here. I want to see your hits!

I'm also still getting stack of virus emails purporting to come from the likes of Warren Ellis, Joe Quesada and Patty Jeres, but clearly coming from people with all our names in their Contact List. Please, if my name is on your email contact list, please remove it, just in case.

Now, rumours.

WIZARD TO GO HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH SAN DIEGO

[Yellow Light]Gutterati Emperor writes to tell me that at San Diego, Wizard representatives were asking retailers if they'd be interested in doing a show in Anaheim to be called WizardWorld West.

The word is that this would be staged as close to San Diego, in time and location, as possible.

Fight, fight, fight, fight...

DARK HORSE TO REPRINT CONAN?

[Yellow Light]At San Diego, Dark Horse staffers told one or two people that they'd licensed the rights to the old Barry Smith "Conan" material that Marvel initially published.

Slightly ironic, since Windsor-Smith has sworn off from working with Dark Horse after the "Storyteller" project aborted. Talking of which, despite previous assurances that "Storyteller" would be released from Fantagraphics in early 2003, it appears that Windsor-Smith has informed them that he needs at least another year to prepare the material.

HEROCLIX THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY

[Green Light]Arune Singh, Comic Book Resources staff writer, was stopped by security flying back from San Diego. Tightened measures saw security men intrigued by his DC Heroclix game - and he had to demonstrate how it worked to large men wielding semi-automatic weaponry, proving that Heroclix were not a danger to the well being of Americans everywhere.

Somehow they bought his story. Fools. Given a chance, I'd have shot him.

MARVEL SLAMMED BY GOSSIP MONGERS

[Yellow Light]Gossip at San Diego was well down on last year. In fact the only real sniping was from professionals about the Marvel booth - and how most of the self-publishers had a better looking face.

Of course, the fact that some of those snipers were only there because Marvel freed up money to bring twice as many of them and set up a hospitality suite to do deals during the day and to eat and drink till five in the morning, where many of them did their bitching, might slightly dilute the strength of their argument...

Especially as one of the grooviest place at San Diego was the Marvel party in room 2069 at the Marriott. Even certain senior DC senior editorial staff were seen chin wagging there. But the coolest and hardest to crash shindig was Graphitti's Dead Dog party Sunday night. Not only was arch-enemy Nick Barrucci of Dynamic Forces not only not invited to the party, but invitees were not allowed to bring him in as a guest.

The debate also raged over whether John Cassaday or John Estes had the largest penis in comics. Could Marvel engineer another U-Decide competition? Maybe Dynamic Forces could do resin statues...

GREG RUCKA TO WRITE WOLVERINE

[Green Light]Greg Rucka is to write a batch of Wolverine comics - I hear Axel Alonso tied the deal up at San Diego.

Look, that's all I know, shut up.

WALT SIMONSON ON WONDER WOMAN?

[Green Light]I hear the rumour from San Diego that Walt Simonson has been offered the job on Wonder Woman after current creator Phil Jimenez completes his run and before Greg Rucka comes on board. However, if Simonson does take the gig, he'll only have time to write.

READING THE DARK KNIGHT

[Green Light]Amid much debate about both the ending and substance of "Dark Knight Strikes Back," I understand that Frank Miller has looked favourably on Jeff Lester's Savage Critic review of issue three. Although not a totally positive review, and though Miller rarely reads reviews and commentary on his work, after this was brought to his attention, Miller remarked that it understood his vision. As an example, Miller mentioned that one of his major influences for this project was indeed Kurtzman's "Superduperman."

GI JOE/X-MEN CROSSOVER: THE CONSPIRACY CONTINUES

[Green Light]The "GI Joe/X-Men crossover" that everyone seems to think is happening, and is drawn by Keron Grant, has been hitting a few more snags. GI Joe publisher, Devil's Due/Image don't know a thing about it. And according to them, neither do GI Joe owners, Hasbro.

Scott Wherel, GI Joe editor, tells me "According to one of our main contacts at Hasbro, they haven't entered into any kind of deal with Marvel to do anything regarding a 'G.I. Joe/X-Men' crossover, as Devil's Due Publishing currently has the rights to produce comics based on 'G.I. Joe.' Devil's Due hasn't been involved in any talks about a story with Marvel or the creative team that's apparently being assembled. At least on our end, this crossover isn't happening. "

Both Grant and Quesada specifically chose not to comment. But I'm given to understand that this is a clandestine agreement between Hasbro and Marvel - and that Devil's Due simply hasn't been informed.

BLACK PANTHER'S FUTURE

[Green Light]Will it involve a young Korean woman taking on the role? Will it be "Ultimate Black Panther?"

Gutterati Vibraxas reports that both scripts and proposals for these comics have been written, but in the end, the continuing vision of the Black Panther by Christopher Priest will continue. The first arc, "Black and White," tells the story of Panther and the White Wolf competing for the soul of a young man - but who's the good guy and the bad guy in this? It is intended to be written along the lines of Priet's one-recalled-issue-before-cancelled "Concrete Jungle." According to Priest, it's an "urban crime drama, with layers of intrigue and mystery, tons of action, and the trademark BP humor and political maneuvering."

For more along these lines, look for an upcoming Priest interview in a primer at Comics Odyssey, Robinson's Place, Manila, in a couple of weeks.

STRANGE ADVENTURES GET A PLUG

[Green Light]Thanks to Strange Adventures for the stack of Madman Picture Exhibition 2's that landed in our Gutter last week. Dark Horse and Diamond managed not to fill any UK orders on this particular book, so they're as rare here as... well, the Elseworlds Eighty Page Giant is over there.

Described as "the world's greatest comic bookshops with the widest and wisest selection", they're at 5262 Sackville Street, Halifax NS.

Also enclosed were a bunch of copies of Supersnipe, a collection of advertising strips using the shop's mascot, pinup portrayal's of that mascot by the likes of Chris Ware, Bendis, Philip Bond, Darrow, Cannon, Sim, Mignola, Dorkin and more as well as a bunch of other strips. Why not go to their website and try and get your copy?

LARRY YOUNG STRIKES BACK

[Green Light]Last week's re-reporting of certain comments by AiT/PlanetLar Publisher, Larry Young, received quite a bit of email, both for and against the man.

Larry chose to reply, saying:

"Upon re-reading... I have to note that I've never been nothing but polite in public to any of those folks she mentions, and, in fact, count Scott Brown of Cyberosia to be amongst those I call 'friend.' Make of Lea's diatribe what you will, then. And that's for public consumption. :)"

And as more examples of Larry Young's intriguing attitude on message boards have been forwarded to me since last week, this one sticks out, discussing Jason Alexander's comic, "Empty Zone," Young responded on the Brian Wood Forum, "Yeah, it's good if you like artists who draw with one hand while reading 'Channel Zero' with the other."

Later, Young adds "Because the art rips off Brian Wood, and the story rips off William Gibson and Brian Wood. It's like that old David Spade Hollywood joke on 'Saturday Night Live': "I liked this story better when it was called 'Channel Zero.'"

As some replied, stating they liked both and wondered if both Wood and Young had common inspiration, Young softened slightly saying:

"It's just not for me, since his influences on 'Empty Zone' are too near the surface." And "'Channel Zero' was published first."

After proof that 'Empty Zone' had been published in the small press previously to Channel Zero's publication, Larry changed tack.

"Everybody else can go cry in their beer. Unless you're going to tell me Brian already knew of Jason Alexander, much less his work? No one knows who Jason Alexander is now."

COLOURISTS GET A LITTLE UPPITY

[Yellow Light]Apparently there's been a small clash between Marvel execs and Marvel's colourists - again.

This time it's down to some guidelines drawn up by the production department, that apparently fail to take into account the variety of snazzy effects that modern colourists like Richard Isanove, JD Smith, Chris Sotomayor, Jose Villarrubia, Paul Mounts, Avalon and Liquid throw all over their books and most editors now expect. The colourists have asked for the guidelines written up by a fellow colourist, not by a production worker and several attempts to strike up a discussion with the Marvel production department have gone unanswered.

HITMAN TRADE PAPERBACKS TO CONTINUE?

[Green Light]A number of people reported from San Diego that the "Hitman" trades were to be discontinued. I'm told that's not the case at all, merely that they're not on the DC schedule as of yet. While there may be no current plans to continue the series immediately, that's different from deciding not to continue the series at all.

BATTLE OF THE PLANETS ORIGINAL ARTIST

[Yellow Light]Did you know that Yanick Paquette was originally slated to draw "Battle of the Planets?" Apparently he was Alex Ross' original choice, alongside Ray Snider and Snakebite (but we all know what happened with that one…)

But after accepting, Paquette was asked to draw the piece in a cod-manga style, big eyes and all. I understand that Paquette wasn't happy with that at all, he believed he was being hired for his style, but licensor dealings outweighed them. I understand that Ross offered to touch up the artwork after penciling to give it more of that style, but Paquette refused.

Paquette had agreed to draw the last "Gen13" issue before the revamp. but had to turn it down for "Battle Of The Planets." Oops.

Here's a piece of Paquette's Battle Of The Planets, eyes unchanged...

[Battle of the Planets]

PANINI TO PUBLISH DC DOWN SOUTH?

[Yellow Light]Brazillian Guteratti, T. S Costa reports in with more news about the fight over the DC Comics line in Brazil. The main rumour is currently that Panini, who used to be part of Marvel and still the main republisher of Marvel Comics abroad, which they received a very lucrative deal for when the company was being reorganized, is in the hot seat. And that the word is that Panini have everything ready to start marketing the line for September.

But an article at Blue Bus translated reveals that a number of companies are up for the rights, including Panini.

PAT LEE SPEAKS, A NATION GAWPS

[Green Light]This link has been doing the rounds since San Diego. Pat Lee's thoughts and personal philosophies can be found here.

Amongst some arty pictures of Pat Lee, posing, sitting and standing in just his skiddies, they include such gems as:

WE OFTEN FIND OURSELVES IN DREAMS


A WORLD THAT LETS OUR DESIRES WISHES AND HATES RUN FREELY

And

SOMETIMES WE SHARE SOMETHING WITH OTHERS WE FEEL NO ONE ELSE COULD EVER COME CLOSE TO THE IMAGERY OUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER PORTRAYS. A PAINTED PICTURE? YES... TORN AND RIPPED TO SHREDS BY IT'S OWN CREATOR.

And

MY DREAMS HAVE BEEN SHATTERED, MY HEART TORN APART. LEAVING NOTHING BUT INNER PAIN AND MEMORIES I KEEP LOCKED DEEP DOWN MY MIND. I WISH SOMETIMES THAT THE RAIN CAN WASH AWAY ALL OF WHAT IS LEFT OF MY PAST MEMORIES, PAIN AND SUFFERING... ALL I WANT, IS SOMEONE REAL....

Enjoy.

QUINN TO DRAW SOLAR

[Green Light]Mental Studios released a image attached to a project unpaid-Avatar artist Pat Quinn has been working on, colours by Chris Sotomayor.

[Solar]

It's Solar, folks. Check it out here.

MOORCOCK COMIC PUBLISHED ONLINE AND OFF

[Green Light]I hear the previously-reported Michael Moorcock online comic will be published at NextComics.com on the 15th of August, and published in print as part of online spin-off comic, Digital Webbing Presents, for December.

WAID CLEARS UP CREDITS

[Green Light]Mark Waid posted to the Ruse message boards, saying:

"I bought and read 'Ruse #10' today--and I have to admit, I was surprised at CrossGen's generosity in crediting me for the full plot to the issue since what I turned in and was paid for bore almost no resemblance to the actual published story. That's in no way a value judgment on the work--as I have ALWAYS said, I wish the new team the best of luck--but I thought it important to set the record straight, as it's not fair to Scott and Butch to credit me with work that is obviously so much theirs. Again, I appreciate CrossGen working to make me feel included, but I don't want or need it at the expense of others. Oh--and once more, Laura demonstrated why she deserves every award she receives, and more. Best, MW"

CrossGen employer Ian Feller replied "It's nice to see that Mark is still surfing our boards and indeed he is correct. The actual credit for 'Ruse #10' should have read:"

"CO-PLOT Mark Waid & Archard's Agents"

"DIALOGUE Scott Beatty"

And in response to criticism of Waid's leaving "Ruse," and amidst allegations of gagging orders, Waid replied:

"Sorry you feel as if I left because I 'didn't get my way,' A-C, but there's a lot more to everything than just that, and your comment is, frankly, pretty hurtful rather than funny. Did you mean it that way?

"First, as I've said elsewhere, my leaving 'Ruse' wasn't, I feel, strictly my choice, and no one--no one--is happy with the way the dominoes ultimately fell. I wish the team the best, but you have a right to feel disappointed that I'm gone. I know that's how I feel sometimes. It's no fun to create out of my own head great characters like Simon and Emma and then leave them behind."

For more, click here.

MORE DOOP TRANSLATIONS

[Green Light]Ever since the "Doop Translator" went public on the old All the Rage column, Doop has been fairly silent. In "X-Statix 1," however, he's back to his old tricks. Although the translator doesn't cover capitals and has no punctuation, a little work reveals the truth behind the scribbles.

Doop Dialogue From X-Statix 1:

Asked to deal with "Code X": "As long as he doesn't corkscrew me!"

On Venus Dee-Lightful: "That sounds like an ice cream!"

How was Code X? "Do you really want to know?"

Doop disappears: "Cheese!"

Doop kill: "Hoo-boy! I need a raise!"

Letters page

"Got a problem with me?"

Here's that code again...

[The Doop Translator]

GUTWALLOW RETURNS, HIDDEN

[Green Light]I understand that Dan Berger's "Gutwallow" - kicked out by Diamond Distribution twice - looks like it's coming back as part of a new comics line, hoping to hide from potential barring, with a crowd of others.

ZIRCHER RETURNS, NOT SO HIDDEN

[Green Light]Although "Captain Marvel 35" was solicited to be drawn by Chriscross, it looks like we're in for another filler - Patrick Zircher says that he's drawing the comic in question.

VAMPIRELLA MOVIE ON THE CARDS

[Green Light]On the rumoured Miller "Vampirella" movie that Mark Millar has since denied knowledge of, Harris Comics editor-in-chief Maureen McTigue writes "We have, in fact, cut a movie deal with Mindfire Entertainment. Right now, that's it. No one else has been mentioned concerning. That comes next."

MORRISON AUTHORITY SIMILARITY?

AMBER

On the Warren Ellis Forum, Tim Stoltzfus recalled meeting Grant Morrison at San Diego. Morrison was seen to take a old copy of "Justice League 26" from a pile to be signed and pointed out to the throng how similar to "The Authority" a group called the International Ultramarine Corps were, flying around in an interdimensional city called "Superbia" and talking about "killing if we have to." Morrison's plans for a spin-off book for the team were scuttled.

When asked if this was similar ideas occurring at the same time, or Grant and Warren exchanging ideas, Morrison said "I don't know, you'll have to ask Warren."

After a little back and forth about publication dates, Ellis responded "I thought the Marines thing was a 'Stormwatch' riff, personally. Heh."

PLANETARY 16 TO ACTUALLY BE PUBLISHED

[Green Light]John Cassaday has announced on his website that "Planetary 16" is due to come out in October. Due to be solicited in October perhaps? He prints the solicitation copy, "With The Four momentarily in disarray, Elijah Snow initiates the second part of his comeback plan; to hunt down and discover the truth about Anna Hark, daughter of the criminal genius of the Thirties, who died in the Adirondacks with the rest of Axel Brass' associates. Her story begins in medieval China, and ends in the spires of modern America..."

NEW MORRISON/WOOD PROJECT

[Yellow Light]As the last "Invisibles" trade paperback is finally announced as coming out in November, it appears that quite a bit of artwork is being changed in order to make the last few issues closer to the intended script - Ashley Wood's work being the most highlighted offender.

It hasn't seemed to have spoiled the creative relationship, however. On his website, Ashley Wood stated that both he and Morrison would be doing a project for the little-publisher-that-could, IDW.

Who also, BTW, put out a lovely book recently called Lurid. Find it.

RECRUITING IN THE GUTTERS

If you've got a story, talk to me. Your identity will remain anonymous unless you wish otherwise. You can choose a pseudonym and join the ranks of the Gutterati. Or be a demon reposter, join the Gutter Snipes and spread the word about stories in this column across the Internet, where relevant. Then tell me where you've put them up - the more mainstream the better!

You can contact me at:

  • twisting@hotmail.com (which often gets full, but it'll reach me during the day)

  • rich@twistandshout.freeserve.co.uk (which I read every morning - best for graphic files!)

  • AOL Instant Message me at TwistRich

  • 0780 1350982 (01144780 1350982 from N America)

  • Anthrax packages can be sent to 8 Robin Hood Lane, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3PU, ENGLAND

Be seeing you.

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