Lying In The Gutters

Mon, August 26th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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A slightly shorter column than usual, but then I was busy writing a drawing a 24 hour comic. More on that later.

Welcome to the ninth weekly installment of Lying In The Gutters, a gossip and rumour column serving the comic book industry by having its wicked way with the comic book industry's younger sister. 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 load of tripe - and if you do repost information here elsewhere, please include a warning to that effect. And a link. Man does not live by hits alone - I wish.

WALT SIMONSON, JERRY ORDWAY AND P CRAIG RUSSELL TO TAKE ON WONDER WOMAN

[Green Light]With Ordway and Ellis' "Planetary/JLA" due to be released soon, Jerry Ordway will be penciling the DC Universe version of Diana Prince, with P Craig on inks for Walt Simonson's six issue run (previously reported in this column). This six month sojourn will fill a nice gap between the end of Phil Jiminez' run and Greg Rucka's upcoming tenure on the title.

So why isn't Walt drawing the title? He's too busy it seems…

MOORCOCK RETURNS TO DC

[Green Light]I understand that fantasy legend Michael Moorcock is to write an Elric related series for DC Comics, with Walt Simonson on art. Bizarrely, I've been told that this came about after Michael's Shazam! pitch was outweighed by Jeff Smith's upcoming Captain Marvel project.

HEATING UP COOL BEANS

[Yellow Light]After the fall of CoolBeansWorld, the future of a number of strips created by their creatives was in doubt.

I've just heard that D'Israeli's work for the website is to receive its first print publication in Judge Dredd Megazine. With other work from 2000AD stalwalts like Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, it's a strong possibility that much of their work will also start to appear in print from Revolution's 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine in the near future.

This is a Good Thing.

MARVEL/ONI COLLABORATION A GO!

[Yellow Light]The latest word on the Marvel/Oni publishing deal comes from Gutterati Purpleman. Ages back I reported that there was a deal in place for Oni to take over a few Marvel books and give them an Oni spin, with Oni's stable of creators. Purpleman confirms this and says that while there's no fixed date, the plan is a go. Oni will take a number of third tier titles, such as "Nick Fury," and write them in a MAX style, aimed at the twenty year old crowd that Oni seems to find a certain level of success with. These books, unlike most Oni titles, will be in colour.

THE TAIL WAGS THE DOG

[Green Light]I understand that zealous fans of Image retro revival comic book "GI Joe" from Devil's Due Studios have been principally involved in the lead artist Steve Kurth being dropped from the book. A number of GI Joe fans on the Devil's Due message boards seemed to take a personal affront to his style when applied to their favourite toys and organized a write-in campaign to Hasbro, "GI Joe" owners. The company, seeing hundreds of email complaints, had a word and Kurth was dropped from GI JOE and moved to sister title "Micronauts."

Of course, by that point, Kurth had worked on a number of issues and fans were really starting to warm to his style. So when the news came that Steve Kurth has been dropped from "GI Joe," the fans started to complain again. I expect a write-in campaign is in the works.

Bloody hell, people.

DC MALAISE

[Yellow Light]I've been hearing some serious DC editorial grumblings over the future at DC of three specific editors. While I'm naming no names to protect the guilty, I understand these three editors all given thirty days to clean up their act or face the music, and that the deadline for that was last week. They're still here, but so are the grumbles.

There are more grumbles over DC currently remaking four offices into three for Paul Levitz, Patrick Caldon and Joel Ehrlich. Despite previous offices being a tad on the small side, (with senior VPs's offices being smaller than other VPs) and the likes of Paul Levitz taking on extra duties (like being President), some DC staffers have felt a little put out when they themselves have been asked to make cut backs of late.

Grumbles may also be emanating from the top as well. It's been much believed that Jenette Kahn's departure from DC Comics wasn't quite as voluntary as the DC spin made it out to be. The difference now is that Jenette's been telling a few people about it and it's trickling down.

WARREN ELLIS DENIES WINTER FORESHADOWING

[Green Light]It didn't make it to the final column last week for mysterious reasons, but Warren Ellis writes over the supposed foreshadowing of the upcoming Stormwatch one-off by Irving and Morrison, by having Winter enter the sun in "WildCATS/Aliens."

Ellis writes, "News to me. I thought I killed him. It was established in 'Change or Die' that he can only convert a certain amount of energy derived from physical attack before the physical attack itself gets to him. Otherwise John Cumberland couldn't have beaten him unconscious.

"The setup was essentially that he was a decent man looking for redemption in an expeditious world. In a story that was shifting from 'Stormwatch' to 'The Authority,' a man who had qualms about any action to protect our planet couldn't survive. So I chucked him into the sun.

"Still, the 'Stormwatch' collections do brisk business now. Maybe bringing him back will make the company some money. This is good, because it means they have more money to give me. And I have something like eight new projects in different stages of production there. So I get all the money. All of it, Rich."

Ladies and gentlemen, Warren Ellis The Aardvark.

THE MARVILLE CURSE

[Yellow Light]I understand that a number of pros shied from working on the upcoming "Marville" book. A number, noting its clear anti-DC parody status have decided they might one day want to take the Paul Levitz dime and shied away. There are currently no plans on how or to continue the series past its first six issues.

No, I don't have such qualms. Why do you ask?

[Green Light]CHUCK AUSTEN ON SUPERMAN

I understand that DC are grooming Chuck Austen to work on Superman when he's available.

ORIGIN OF ORIGIN SURNAME

[Yellow Light]Regular online readers known that Wolverine's real surname in Origin, was chosen from a list prepared internally, of which "Howlett" was chosen by Bill Jemas. Apparently the name was on the list, when Nanci Quesada's brother was searching for his biological parents.

BIGG TIME LATE FOR BRITS

[Green Light]When DC/Vertigo's "Bigg Time" didn't reach UK stores this week, despite all other DC book arriving shop shape, alarm bells started ringing. After all, this was a book which caused DC legal (and as a result author Ty Templeton and then-editor Heidi MacDonald) all sorts of grief. Could a British-specific legal problem have raised its ugly head?

No. Apparently it's a distribution/shipping foul-up which should be sorted out for this Friday's delivery (but because there's a bank holiday today, it might mean we get it the Thursday after).

FILTH AND THE FURY

[Yellow Light]Just how familiar is "The Filth?" A few echoes of dj vu were experienced by people who'd recently read Grant Morrison's "Double Shot Nick Fury" story in which similar Filth themes were raised. Could it be familiar Morrison themes in multiple works? A trial run for some ideas that would bear fruit in "The Filth?" How about an unofficial spinoff?

That's issue 2 of "Marvel Double Shot," you Filth Fans.

24 HOUR COMICS ARE FOR WIMPS

[Green Light]I did mine in under 16 hours as part of the great Ninth Art 24 Hour Comic Collective held on Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to Leo Barnett and Nick for Paypal donations towards pizza and Chinese food, thanks to Ninth Art for organizing it and you can read my great opus here. Pulled from that day's newspaper headlines (treating 9-11 as a brand, and McDonald's decision to launch a McAfrica burger just as southern Africa starts to go through a very serious famine), ideaspace was soon polluted by a nearby creator's use of angels and God but I feel the eventual mismatch seemed to tie together at the end, became a vehicle for some of my own theological musings and had a couple of good gags. Go read.

RICH JOHNSTON STRETCHES WINGS

[Green Light]I've been writing a new column for industry pillagers Dynamic Forces called Waiting For Tommy. The first column is up now, a second edition is going up later in the week. The first comic features a pitch session to Joe Quesada, a true story about Tom Baker, a review of "Lurid" and a look at IDW, some meanderings about British culture and a photo of a fat lady puppet. If you like the writing style of Lying In The Gutters, do please check it out.

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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