The Column

Mon, September 23rd, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Mark Millar, Columnist

Welcome to the thirteenth 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 pet chicken. 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 can of spinach - 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 - but I could do with the attention. Say, even Brian Bendis mentioned me in the last issue of Powers. Joy.

CROSSGEN GAIN PREMIER STATUS

[Green Light]A few weeks ago, Steve Geppi visited the CrossGen compound and had a nice long meeting with Mark Alessi.

After the two mighty heads had stopped knocking, a bunch of CrossGen staff gathered in the kitchen area, and Geppi announced to them that CrossGen was now a Premier Publisher, moving their listing in Diamond Previews to the front of the catalogue.

Speaking for about twenty minutes, he told the assembled crew, "We're ready to bet on you guys, because you're the future."

And this upcoming week's Previews will feature an 18 page section for CrossGen product - not in the front of the catalogue for this month, probably due to printing schedules, but expect full up front prominence next month. Indeed, if the Premier Publishers stick to the alphabetical order they've always been in (Acclaim, Dark Horse, DC, Image, Marvel, Wizard), CrossGen should be at the very front of Previews now that Acclaim have ceased publishing.)

[CrossGen]There are many more benefits to being a Premier Publisher than simple prominence. There are better terms and conditions of trade, an agent/broker agreement rather than a simple publisher/distributor deal, and as a result, much more control over content, pricing, promotions and micro-management.

CrossGen has been expanding as a comic company of late, first with a fantasy-based universe of titles, then a small genre diversification into mystery, horror and martial arts and now representing other properties outside the CrissGen universe. It's been understood that CrossGen were promised Premier status from Diamond when they grew past a five percent share - which they have now achieved.

However, it's also understood that existing Premier Publishers were given a veto over new publishers joining the fold. And with Marvel and DC employing practices strictly prejudicial against CrossGen, that can't be an easy sell on Diamond's part.

When asked, Jennifer Hernandez - General Counsel of CrossGen replied "no comment".

Well, she would say that, wouldn't she? Look for this one to break large.

ABC DC

[Yellow Light]I hear word that an hour-long live-action series based on a DC character will air on ABC? Some would think that the WB would have a monopoly on those DC characters---or at least that a psuedo-flagship character would never wind up on Disney's network...

We're talking about a big character, with plenty of trade paperback out there. If you'd care to start guessing...

More on this one as it starts breaking in a week or so.

And no, I'm not talking about Midnight, Mass...

OPENING THE STORM DOOR

[Yellow Light]Originally reported as a 144 page hardcover, a "Storm" mini-series will be published weekly to coincide with "X-Men 2." A number of other film-prominent characters will also get their own minis around that time.

It is intended for the book to be collected very soon after publication, either in hardback or paperback.

Igor Kordey is still the artist, Claremont the writer. Thanks everyone.

MIKE THE FIRST

[Green Light]Pulse reported that DC Editor Mike McAvennie is out. He was one of the three editors referred to in the "shape up or ship out" rumour I printed a few weeks ago. I hear the other two have escaped the axe. For now.

WAID WHACKS WIZARD

[Green Light]Ages back, I first reported on what's been called the aborted Superman coup, when Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Tom Peyer and Mark Millar was asked to revamp the four Superman titles - only for the offer to be withdrawn in a political battle between editors. However, I had no idea what their proposal contained.

Wizard Magazine then also reported the story, but they appeared to have an idea, giving further details on what their stories involved. But according to a recent post by Mark Waid on the DC message boards, Wizard were lying out of their pig pointy hat. See Beau Yarborough's CBR News story for more details... and Gutterati and Gutter Snuipes, pick up that baton!

SOLAR VISIONS

[Green Light]You remember the Valiant Revival that failed from the past few weeks of Lying In the Gutters? Well, we've managed to acquire some of the Pat Quinn pencils for the "Solar" project. Most likely the only glimpse you'll get of this attempt to bring back one of the nineties most enduring boom relics. Here's a look at five pages of artwork by Pat Quinn. And next week we hope to bring you pages from Magnus.

Enjoy.

[Solar] [Solar] [Solar] [Solar] [Solar] [Solar]
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

MOORE AND JOHNSTON, TOGETHER AT LAST

[Green Light]Talking of Pat Quinn, more information on the Avatar Alan Moore/Jacen Burrows story I ran a few weeks ago. It appears it's an adaptation of "The Courtyard," a Lovecraft Mythos story which has only previously appeared in one - rather obscure - prose anthology, to be adapted by my sibling Antony Johnston.

Antony told me over breakfast "Alan and I are working closely to ensure the finished product is as 'pure' Alan as you can get - I'm literally just visualising the story for him. It's an interesting, and quite exciting, experiment for me. And obviously, I think it's going to be great."

Publisher William Christiansen said "Antony is adapting it very closely from Alan's story, Alan is providing tons of notes, suggestions, tweaks, and is very hands-on. The final product will be as pure a vision of Alan as possible, he has total approvals every step of the way. Everyone is really busting their chops on this one, sweet stuff all the way around."

JOE TV

[Yellow Light]Joe Quesada will be appearing on US TV's 60 Minutes in November, to promote the comics industry and, naturally, Marvel Comics.

Will sixty minutes be enough?

Factions In Comics

[Green Light]I hear that a "Doctor Who" novelisation spinoff is about to become a comic book series, possibly from Image.

"The Faction Paradox," which features in a number of Doctor Who novels by author Lawrence Miles is to become a bi-monthly colour comic and published next year.

Created through Lars Pearson's Mad Norwegian Press, Miles will write the series with art from Jim Calafiore and Peter Palmiotti

The comic will tell the tales of the survivors and after-effects of the "War in Heaven" as outlined in "Doctor Who: Alien Bodies" and "Faction Paradox: The Book of the War."

PAGES COUNT

[Green Light]Kaare Andrews responds to last week's story about the length of the Spider-Man Mangaverse title, saying "The Spider-Man manga book is 5 issues long. Originally the story was three issues in the Mangaverse book. But when Marvel decided the book was strong enough to support itself, we beefed up the story to a nice trade-friendly five issues. Wait 'til issue 3... rumor has it... Aunt May kicks some serious ninja ass..."

Before sitting them down to a nice slice of apple pie, we hope.

FUTURE THINGS

[Green Light]Dean Haspiel, recent artist for the Capsploitation story in hardcover, updated the WEF with a run down on his upcoming projects. "'Spider-Man's Tangled Web #20' ~ written by Zeb Wells (featuring J. Jonah Jameson), 'X-Men Unlimited #40' ~ written by Nick Bertozzi (featuring Juggernaut), and a 4-issue 'Thing' mini-series ~ written by Evan Dorkin."

A four issue 'Thing' mini-series written by Evan Dorkin?

This is what they want.

YET MORE FUCKING EIGHTIES BOLLOCKS

[Yellow Light]Someone grabbed the VOLTRON licence... expect it to be a comic soon.

[Voltron]

COMPLAIN HERE

[Green Light]John Layman, when asked why the pages form Bryan Hitch's "Authority Widescreen" weren't included in the "Absolute Authority" hardcover as had been indicated, Layman replied "the title page and the endpaper spread were three of the four pages of "Authority: Widescreen." We omitted the fourth page to give people something to complain about."

Finally, The Authority realises why it really was able to get the attention of so many message boards…

TOMMY KNOCKER

Are you all still reading Waiting For Tommy? Catch my column of general witterings and occasional satirical prods over at Dynamic Forces - currently up is a look at the influences of Frank Quitely in Oor Wullie and The Broons - and next Wednesday what happens when Warren Ellis says goodbye.

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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