Lying In The Gutters

Tue, September 3rd, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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Welcome to the tenth weekly instalment 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 dash or powdered dromedary - 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.

LIEFELD'S NEW ALLY

[Green Light]I hear that after the upcoming Mark Millar "Youngblood," the next Arcade Comics revival will be Allies. A proposed series a while ago, promotional art gave the impression it was the Liefeld version of "The Avengers." Alan Moore wrote a bible and plots for the series that never saw print but the "big name writer" promised for the series is yet unknown. Place your bets ladies and gents. Grant Morrison? Brian Michael Bendis? Frank Miller? We must wait and see...

Rob Liefeld's response "You're good... nothing to add."

DARWYN COOKE TO REWRITE DC UNIVERSE

[Green Light]I understand that Darwyn Cooke let slip that he's writing and drawing a new project for the DC Universe that will involve "virtually everyone I've wanted to draw," including The Challengers of the Unknown and Captain Marvel. At last count, it's going to be about 400 pages long and he'll be working on it until the end of the year. It's clocking in at 380 pages so far, and he'll be working on it for the rest of the year.

FOR BIGG TIME TO WAR TIME

[Green Light]Fresh from the publication of the amazing "Bigg Time" from DC/Vertigo, I hear that Ty Templeton is keen to relaunch a number of old DC War Comics - and

that he's getting his opportunity.

Templeton tells me:

"I think I'm allowed to tell you that, yes, I'm writing a brand new DCU War Comic, that's set in modern times, with a modern army, although, it does have a familiar character or two in it. (Sgt. Rock's Little Sure Shot is a minor character in the book, as is his grandson, for instance.)

"The pencil art is by a relative newcomer named Clement Sauve, a fellow Canadian boy, who draws WAAAAY better than I do. He's sort of a cross between Yanick Paquette and Brian Hitch (not a bad pair of influences, I'd say, and he shares a studio with Yanick, so the influence there is direct) and in a few years, he'll have both of their fan bases all to himself."

We look forward to hearing more.

CHAOS THEORY

[Yellow Light]There have been a number of rumours doing the rounds that Brian Pulido was in discussions with another publisher well before he announced Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that the company would pick up the characters cheap at auction, divorced of any of the debt owed to companies and freelancers, then hire Brian to work on the books. This has been boosted by news that certain Chaos! Creators have been asked by Pulido to keep working on their books *after* the bankruptcy was announced.

The Newsarama boards, have printed posts by an individual claiming to be an ex-Chaos creator posting under the name of Art4u2c. These posts have made allegations that Chaos was selling original art rather than sending it back to the creator, and insinuated that Chaos may not have paying taxes on their payroll and that Chaos money was used to pay of certain of Pulido's debts, such as his house, before the company went bankrupt. The issue of CrossGen getting Chaos characters to work with without getting the Chaos debt was also raised.

What actually *will* happen may well surprise us all, however.

ONI AT MARVEL

[Yellow Light]I've heard whispers that other Marvel books to get the Oni tweak may well include "Silver Surfer" and "Power Pack" ... along with a number of new characters.

This is what they want, you know.

VALIANCE DISMISSED

[Yellow Light]Remember that new "Magnus Robot Fighter" and "Solar: Man Of The Atom" artwork I've been printing recently? That gave the impression that a revival from an unnamed publisher was on the way?

A number of individuals were hired to work on the properties and began churning out material.

I've just been told that they have recently informed them that the books aren't going to happen after all - and that as a result, they're not going to get paid for work completed at the publisher's request. I hear there may be a number of other originally upcoming series in the skip as well.

NOTE I mentioned a specific publisher in a previous version of this column - not only was the publisher not involved, it's not in their publishing mandate to have been involved. I'd like to apologise to that publisher for not realising that.

SCHEDULE WATCH

[Green Light]With shades of "Wetworks" schedules, Whilce Portacio will be taking a "break" from "Stormwatch" after issue 6. Issue 7 is currently being drawn by Mark Texeira and issue 8 by Tomm Coker.

STRONG START

[Green Light]I hear that Yanick Paquette and Karl Story are illustrating a 6-issue "Tom Strong" series that hasn't been announced yet. I wonder if this could be the Pete Hogan ABC series mentioned a few weeks back?

BISHOP BASHING

[Green Light]After ex-2000AD editor Andy Diggle posted in the famous and never-used Frank Miller Judge Dredd poster on his website, previous-ex-2000AD David Bishop was on hand to repeat the story on the 2000AD website.

Bishop wrote:

"Andy commissioned the cover from Frank Millar to celebrate the Meg's 10th anniversary, to appear on 3.70. He agreed a fee of £1000 for a piece of black and white art. He asked FM for a sketch in advance of the final art. To fund the cover, Andy wrote Lenny Zero for free (so at least something good came out of it!).

"No sketch ever appeared or was approved.

"As my time on '2000 AD' was coming to an end, I swapped roles with Andy - he took over day to day editing of '2000 AD' and I took over the Megazine, beginning with commissioning the cover for '3.69' from Kevin Walker.

"The deadline for '3.69' was fast approaching and FM's cover was needed to appear on the next issue page as a teaser.

"I got an email from Diana Schutz saying FM had sent the art to her at Dark Horse and she would be sending a print of it to me, rather than send the original and risk losing it. Fine.

"The art finally arrived on a Friday, around midday. John Wagner was makinga rare visit to the office to take me to a farewell lunch, as I was down to my last weeks and days on staff.

"I opened the package in Wagner's presence. His comment: "He saw you coming!

"Heh heh.

"I was dismayed by the finished art. I made a photocopy, send the print off to Chris Blythe to begin colouring with a list of things I wanted him to amend - turn the beard/shading/whatever it was into shading, not anything that could be mistaken for a beard. Lose the sillier weapons and their placement. Colour it up."

"My plan was to run the image in a porthole arrangement - have the characters breaking out of a large circle on the cover, as Comics International was doing on its covers at the time. This would provide clear space for lots of anniversary issue coverlines and hide the legs, which were my biggest problem with the art."

"I sent an email to FM acknowledging receipt of the print and expressing my disappointment at the finished art. I never rejected the cover. FM emailed me back, expressing his unhappiness at my disappointment."

"We agreed never to run the cover and no payment would be required. So it was left."

"The original art was later auctioned on ebay with all proceeds going to the CBLDF. It raised over $2000 - so some good came out of it."

SHOUT GOES OUT

[Green Light]I'd like to give a little Lying In The Gutters shout to Eduardo Blake, the premier Gutter Snipe. Week after week he posts links to this column on the DC Comics boards, the Millar forum, all over the place. Cheers fellow.

ENOUGH ALREADY

[Green Light]Yes, yes, all right. Yes that Moorcock/Simonson Elric news was old and reported in June. And that "Howlett" thing was printed in the "Origin" hardcover. I'm off to sulk.

PLUGS ALL ROUND

Glenn Barbis emails, asking for a plug for a comic strip called Industry Standards

Why not.

I notice Joe Quesada's message board is down. But it'll be up soon, so here's a plug.

I've written a second Waiting For Tommy column up at Dynamic Forces which includes a pitch to Mike Carlin, more on Tom Baker and my memories of the 24 Hour Comic . See you there.

While we're doing plugs, I'm selling DVDs and comics on eBay. Buy some here. Free shipping the lot of them.

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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Updated September 4, 2002

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