Lying In The Gutters

Mon, December 9th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

Welcome to the twenty-fourth weekly instalment of Lying In The Gutters, a gossip and rumour column serving the comic book industry like you would a raucous goblin. Now. Remember the rumour rules. Red light means it's probably bullshit, Yellow light means I think there's an element of truth and Green means you get bet your life on it. Or someone's life. Not mine, I've been wrong before. Take everything you read with a sense of scathing abuse - 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.

SILVESTRI AND FINCH TAKE ON THE X?

[Green Light]Remember all that kerfuffle about Top Cow getting in to bed with Marvel? Seems like it's happening.

I've been told Top Cow co-owner and Image founder Marc Silvestri will be the new regular penciller for "New X-Men," with Batt inking. Fellow Top Cow cattle fodder David Finch will be the new regular penciller for "Uncanny X-Men."

This is seen by Marvel as a way to tackle increasingly "hot" DC artist books like Jim Lee on "Batman," while also landing Image a blow to its artistic lineup. Marc Silvestri used to be a regular penciller on "Uncanny X-Men" well before Jim Lee came on to the book.

This wouldn't be the first time Marvel have pulled this sort of trick - "Heroes Reborn" still sticks in the mind, doesn't it?

Marvel chose not to comment.

VAUGHAN TO BE WILD

[Yellow Light]I hear tell that Brian Vaughan, currently getting a lot of heat from "Y: The Last Man," is being rumoured as the successor to take over from Mark Millar on "Ultimate X-men" after he leaves.

It's not true, or rather, it's not true yet. Marvel are looking for someone more established to take over the book. Although, give it a year or two - they certainly see Vaughn as someone they'd like to invest in.

Marvel chose not to comment.

GHOST WRITER. AND ARTIST. I'LL COME BACK IN AND START AGAIN.

[Green Light]I understand that in a certain New York bar, Mark Millar and Adam Kubert got bladdered and announced they are to work together on a new "Ghost Rider" mini-series. But that no one should tell anyone yet.

Yeah, like that was likely to work.

Marvel chose not to comment.

A NEW LEVEL OF AOL?

[Red Light]As I was putting the column to bed, one little sparrow twittered that, quite surprisingly, Marvel comics was in talks with AOL over providing content for a number of its services, ahead it seems of AOL's own comic book publisher DC Comics. Fancy.

INVISIBLE GAMING

[Green Light]Grant Morrison is working on an "Invisibles" computer game with some of the people who created Grand Theft Auto. And there's a lot of Scots there.

One programmer was so excited about the collaboration that he text messaged a friend from his mobile saying "I'm having a shit in Grant Morrison's toilet!!!" at 2 in the morning.

Will there be any cheat codes?

PINKLISTED

[Yellow Light]This week, on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Delphi Web site, a discussion broke out about what political beliefs the CBLDF would support being expressed, whether in comics or on their own forum.

Then Harlan Carroll wrote, "IIRC Mike Miller was FIRED as an artist because he posted in the DC Forums that he believed homosexuality was wrong. What is the official CBLDF stance on that?"

Mike Miller was a DC artist and I personally remember his work from Grant Morrison's "JLA." He replied to the post.

"This is Mike. I don't think there's anything the CBLDF *could* do about my blacklisting. I've spoken to the family lawyer about it (he actually handles just this kind of case) and didn't think it was illegal. Firstly, I was a freelancer, and my work drying up could be 'explained' away for any number of reasons. Sure, it makes little to no sense that I would go from being next in line to take over DC's flagship title to not being able to draw 'Ambush Bug,' and having a greenlit prestige 'JLA' project go from 'go' to 'no' without a definable explanation... (and the editor telling the assigned inker, 'I can't talk about it.') but without a written document that states specifically that I am not to be given work because of my vocalizing my views (on a message board), there's nothing legally that can be done.

"Of course, the contrary view, that homosexuality is fine and normal and good can be pronounced and proclaimed by a DC creator on freaking Phil Donohue without repercussion (actually, with promotion!), because it suits his very powerful editor's agenda... hey, that's freedom of speech!

"But I digress. Don't worry about it. God's plan will prove itself, and DC has every right to give or not give whoever they want work, for whatever reason they deem fit."

Ah c'mon DC, live and let live. We all of us have to share this grand planet of ours. Why not give Mike Miller some new work? I've got this Midnighter/Apollo mini-series proposal in mind that would be just his thing…

FLEXIBLE MENTALLO?

[Yellow Light]Over at the Mike Allred Board, Nick 621 wrote, concerning the scheduling of the first, if overpriced, "Shade" TPB, which relates to last week's report over DC Policy change to follow Marvel's hot writers, "I remember asking Bob Wayne at a convention when they would start collecting the 'Shade' series and he said that at least every month Karen Berger goes into his office and throws rolled up copies of 'Shade' issues on his desk ordering him to reprint them but he always had to refuse thinking that reader interest wouldn't be high enough to support it.

"He pointed at the halting of 'Invisibles' trades years back because reader interest wasn't high enough, but when Morrison took over 'New X-Men,' a new demand was created and they finished the project subsequently resulting in the new 'Animal Man' collections and the eventual 'Doom Patrol' collections."

Doom Patrol? Despite the appearance of banned-at-DC character Flex Mentallo?

"I talked to him last summer and he said that would come after they finish 'Invisibles' (which just has) and 'Animal Man' (one more trade to go) as that is an extended run. He said they haven't ruled out reprinting the Flex Mentallo stuff, they just put it on the back burner because they still have a lot of other stuff to get to before that."

Mark Stephenson's Baby Clanger is squeaking in anticipation.

FRANK ACTING

[Green Light]Regarding last week's Lying In the Gutters story, it looks like Frank Miller did indeed find time for that "Daredevil" movie cameo…

WEEMS AND WEEMS AND WEEMS

[Red Light]Inker Joe Weems is out of luck at both Top Cow and Marvel these days. Apparently he played each company against each other when deadlines bit, and fell in the middle.

Nevertheless, he's already working on another creator owned project which has got a lot of people very excited indeed. If it comes out.

RETURN OF THE MAC

[Yellow Light]So what future for Top Cow? Could it be that Wizard supreme Jim McLaughlin will step in to be the new editor in chief at Top Cow? With Jim's Wizard contacts and Matt Hawkins on hand, could they be Bill and Joe Mark 2?

I hear Marvel did consider hiring McLaughlin themselves but, for less money and no relocation fee to New York. But Top Cow's location beat them and McLaughlin already rents space for ACTOR through the TC offices.

However, Top Cow may have lost Mike Turner as a creative resource, leaving to work on a book at a brand new company.

Top Cow chose not to comment.

LICENCE TO WEEP

GREEN

Another license Dreamwave have captured is the comic rights to the computer game "Devil May Cry." Certainly, the next wave of licensed titles will be focused around game properties. They are also going for "Street Fighter" from Capcom as well.

SHELL SHOCK

[Yellow Light]Licenses may provide Dreamwave's killer app, as heat isn't exactly landing on their other projects. And while it was announced this weekend at Newsarama that "Limbo City" was cancelled before shipping, I also hear tell that "Arkanium" has been cancelled.

One reason I've been given for "Limbo City's" cancellation is that, despite other reports, there had been no finished issue of "Limbo City" created and schedules were slipping even faster than usual.

The canceling of "Arkanium" has, however, freed up a certain penciller, Lesean Thomas, to work on Dreamwave's up and coming "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" comic, written by Peter David.

AUSTEN POWERS

[Green Light]Concerning allegation's last week about Marvel's plans for Magneto in "Uncanny X-Men," Chuck Austen writes, "I will never bring back Magneto, no matter what happens with my sales. I like the idea that dead is dead, from a creative and storytelling standpoint. But from a marketing standpoint, Marvel's lost a big draw. You should see the faces of people at conventions when you tell them Magneto ain't coming back. They're crushed. Jill can tell you the reaction at Toronto when that gentlemen heard Magneto was dead. People love a good villain.

"But look, I agree with Grant in keeping Magneto dead for creative reasons. Not because I think Magneto should stay dead forever, but because Magneto was overused constantly for many years, and that's the main reason he's staying dead. To force people to create, and stop rehashing. People with a lack of imagination kept bringing him back and destroying the specialness of his power and character. I love the new stuff Grant's created much more (Fantomex is brilliant!), and some of the other things that have appeared in other people's books because they haven't had Magneto and Sinister and the Brotherhood to fall back on every other month."

Let's hope those words don't come back to haunt him...

EVERYONE GO AND CLICK ON THE LINK AND CRASH HIS SERVER

[Green Light]My website link of the week is to Andy Konky Kru. I bumped into him at the train station, he on his way to see Man At The CrossRoads and general Nexus Of All British Comic Realities, Paul Gravett, and gave me a rather enjoyable mini-comic from his convention-travelling.

I really like Andy's work. You should too.

See some bits here.

WAITING FOR WAITING FOR TOMMY

[Green Light]Not quite sure what's happening over at Waiting For Tommy ... the same column seems to be stuck. Still, it's a good example of some of the scurrilous spam that's been going around. Waiting in the pipeline is another bit of spam, a Morrison/Moore feature, a piece on Warren Ellis' "Mek" and the Stan Lee Eminem song.

HA! BEAT THEM TO IT!

[Green Light]Well, it's getting to that end of the year thing where everyone gives prizes to everyone for being jolly good. Lying In the Gutters will be running its annual Rumour Awards - so tell me your favourite from the year that have appeared in this column (pre LITG All The Rage counts as well).

But till then, I thought I'd beat everyone to the punch with my year's roundup of favourite comics.

My favourite serialised comic was "Jack Staff," my favourite original graphic novel was "Creature Tech," my favourite collected novel was "Desert Peach," my favourite publisher was Marvel, my favourite writer Alan Moore, my favourite artist was Dave Sim - who also bags letterer as well. My favourite rumour monger was Heidi MacDonald, my favourite yoghurt was Miller Thick And Creamy Strawberry and the worst comic of the year was "Civilian Justice."

If anyone wants to make that an Official Gutter Award and slap on your PR material, feel free.

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:

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

  • mailto: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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