Lying In The Gutters

Mon, December 16th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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Welcome to the twenty-fifth weekly instalment of Lying In The Gutters, a gossip and rumour column serving the comic book industry like you would a jolly roger. Now, it's the twenty-fifth column, which means a chromium cover and the death of a supporting character. Today, that means regular LITG plugger, Eduardo. Sorry Eduardo, brave sacrifice and all that, you'll get killed saving a bullet meant for me. Everyone will think you're great. 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.

As could Eduardo. Will he pull through????????

No.

MASTERS OF MUNDANITY

[Green Light]Looks like He-Man, Masters Of The Universe is going to have a number of spin-offs. One includes a Skeletor Origin one-shot.

Picture the scene.

"Mrs Skeletor..."

"My baby, where's my baby...?"

"Mrs Skeletor, I have to ask you, did you smoke during your pregnancy?"

"So what if I did?"

"Mrs Skeletor, you do know that smoking while pregnant can cause low birth weight...?"

"I know... but who wants a fat baby anyway?"

"Mrs Skeletor..."

OH, LIKE IT WAS A HARD HITTING INDEPENDENT PARAGON OF JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY BEFORE...

[Green Light]The fall of WizardWorld.com as new owners 800 America hit, well shall we say, a slight legal difficulty, left a number of employees in the cold, including the likes of Janet Hetherington.

I've heard, however, that another interested party may be trying to buy the WizardWorld.com site from the receiver and reemploy the original employees.

Yes folks, it's CrossGen.

No, seriously.

ONE MAN

[Green Light]As fans patiently wait for the official announcement of the DC/Wildstorm line, one of the alleged artists, Lee Bermejo, who is meant to be doing "OMAC," has been doing sketches of the character at conventions.

Here's the new look for the One Man Army Corps.

A slight diversion from the original designs there, then.

NY EXXED.

[Red Light]The story that Comics Continuum posted earlier this week about Brian Vaughan taking on the much-knocked-around, ex-Wood-and-Choe project "NYX" have been scotched on the Brian Wood Forum by Vaughan himself, saying "Just so you know, that rumor is totally untrue. I have no idea where it came from."

ROUNDING UP CATTLE

[Yellow Light]With the departure of Mike Turner from Top Cow for greener and pleasanter lands, I understand that Top Cow are in talks over publishing the elusive (and previously Cliffhanger scheduled) "The Wraith" by Joe Benitz, Marcia Chen and Joe Weems. Benitz is certainly working for the moment on another project, "The Wraith" may follow. I also hear talk that Top Cow may publish Andy Park's long awaited creator owned series.

Although, after a recent mention of Joe Weems, Weems told that the reason he wasn't working for Top Cow anymore was because they still owed him for pages, though Top Cow say that his page rate was too high for them. This could be interesting.

And as to where exactly Michael Turner has gone, I hear it's a new company set up by himself, Geoff Johns and Jeph Loeb.

Gorilla II? Nah, new company, probably start with the letter 'A'…

Although between this and New X-Men, isn't this ironic that Top Cow began 2002 with the promise that this year Silvestri and Turner would return?

PINKLASTING

[Yellow Light]The Pinklisting story from last week has brought up all manner of allegations against Mike Miller over why he doesn't get work from DC Comics anymore. He claims it's because of his expressed views about homosexuality - he's not the biggest fan. Or rather as he tells me "my belief that homosexuality, or ANY sexuality should not be a subject matter for childrens comics. Call that criticism, if you like. It's just the way I feel ."

However observers have pointed out that DC employed Miller long after they were aware of his feelings. Miller says "I was 'warned' to stop discussing the homosexual issue by my then 'Adventures of Superman' editor, Eddie Berganza, then later 'warned' to stop espousing any and all political beliefs by my then 'JLA' editor, Dan Raspler. I complied with both of these requests, mind you, that didn't stop the campaign to get me blacklisted."

Other allegations include that he objected to drawing certain scenes in DC titles, though Miller corrects that as well. "I had actually never objected to drawing a scene. I had questions about a scene, and spoke to J.M. Dematties, the writer about it, and understood better what was going on. My objection was that of Clark Kent doing something I thought out of character, not over any particular moral beef."

As to his behavior on the DC message boards that did seem a tad overboard to me. Miller responds "I dared to state that I was a Christian, someone from a totally different message board came on the DC message board with a great big warning about how no one should buy my books because I'm a homophobe. I defended myself, stating that I was a Bible believing Christian, and it all just snowballed from there. You see, you can't say you are a Bible believing Christian without certain personality types calling you a bigot, a racist, a homophobe, whatever. And apparently, the fact that I work for a gay publisher, and had a gay friend tell me about my homophobic blacklisting at DC did little to sway the minds of those who think I hate homosexuals. These folks with their panties in a bunch then started a letter writing campaign and posted Bob Schreck's (a known and outspoken homosexual, and an extremely powerful group editor at DC) email address asking any and all to email him to get me blacklisted. Well, me no worky at DC no more... So I guess they won! More power to 'em. I'm over it."

However, all this isn't the reason that some DC employees have been given for Miller's continued lack of employment at DC. Rather he had the reputation of being, how shall we say, slightly critical about other people's work, even abusive, often to the people who were employing both him and them. Didn't go down too well. There were similar allegations about when he was working at Malibu.

Miller retorts, "With Eddie Berganza, this might be true. I've since apologized to Eddie for being so critical of my inkers. It's kind of a habit with me, I can't stand how anyone inks me, and I will probably never find that 'perfect' inker. So they get the brunt of my dissatisfaction. It's a bad habit, that I've been convicted to break.

"Actually, I've been doing rather well with it lately. But that's just Eddie... I had a green lit 'JLA' prestige format miniseries waiting for scheduling... Had the writer, the inker (who I chose myself, so I couldn't complain) all lined up and ready to go... And all of a sudden it got blocked from 'higher up.' When my inker, Armando Durruthy, asked what was going on with the book, Dan Raspler said 'I can't talk about it.' Dan to this day consistently says he wants to work with me, but lo and behold, nothing. For a year yet."

"The reason I was given for my miniseries getting blocked was that it wasn't 'important enough.' Even though it had previously been green lit, and far less 'important' mini's have come out since that time. But still Dan says he wants to work with me. And still I haven't gotten one phone call. And when I call, he's got nothing for me... And though I was pretty much the 'fill-in' guy on 'JLA,' when the fill-ins come and go, they don't have my name on them.

"You know, I hate bringing this up to defend myself, because it all smells like sour grapes on my end. I don't harbor any ill will toward the folks at DC. They're doing what they've been told to do. Their jobs are more important to them than my career. I would expect nothing less from anyone. But what happened, happened."

As for Malibu, Mike writes "This is true. I was a butt-head when I worked for Malibu. :)

"Though that was a decade ago... And before I gave my life to Christ."

As to the mini-series cancellation, there were a number of green-lit books that bit the dust in that period when, reportedly, Dan Didio started swinging his dick around the building. I know, I know, what a pleasant image. Nevertheless, a year is a long time…

Miller concludes "Look, this is all in the past. God had bigger plans for me than 'JLA' or anything DC could put together. I'm going to be on two of the biggest miniseries of next year. I am currently working with George R. R. Martin, the greatest fantasy writer since J.R.R.Tolkien. I would never have been able to take these jobs if I were working regularly on a title at DC. What those who did this meant for evil, God meant for good. And that's okay with me."

You can see Miller's current work at www.underdogstudio.com

CATACOMBED

[Green Light]Miller's not the only DC creator in exile from the board - Darwyn Cooke recently posted as part of a discussion on fan art, "BTW, I saw this awhile ago on the DC Cat boards...but the Editorial group has made it clear they don't want me posting there so...just wanted you to know I saw it and thought it was a great take."

BLOOD TRANSFUSION

[Green Light]Those of you still awaiting "Youngblood Bloodsport" 1, here's a few pages to whet your appetite from Extreme Genesis:

Click to enlarge

Look everyone, some of them have got backgrounds.

GREEN FINCH?

[Yellow Light]As to last week's rumour that Dave Finch is to join "Uncanny X-men," both writer Chuck Austen and artist Dave Finch say it's news to them. Looks like Finch will remain ensconsed at "Ultimate X-Men."

They weren't so quick to challenge the rumour that Marc Silvestri is taking on "New X-Men" however, though it seems he'll be on for an arc rather than becoming an official ongoing penciller. For now, anyway.

THE RUMBLE BEHIND THE THUNDER

[Green Light]So just what is ThunderCats writer Ford Gilmore really up to? Turns out he's started a new company called Illuminati to represent comic book creators and game creators, among others, in the mad multi-media world. With names such as Dave Johnson, Phil Noto, Tomm Coker, Howard Chaykin, J.G. Jones and Steve Lieber under his belt, he's already done a TV deal for "Noble Causes."

BLIND ITEM

[Green Light]Which pro creator whose netsex session with a fan caught by the fan's boyfriend and thrown around the web, has been turning up in rumour situations? There was Millar's rant a few months back and just this week, there was a reference to the event in Brian Bendis's rumour column parodies in the new "Powers."

At the time, not even the creator's fans would talk about it on public forums - although it was all they were talking about in certain private forums. And it would be a terrible thing to confirm the identity of the individual, even at this late stage.

So I won't.

Ner.

MINDLESS SPECULATION

[Red Light]Mark Millar has said that his successor on "Ultimate X-Men" will be a big name writer who hasn't written an X-Book before.

Gods… could it be Garth Ennis? He has been in New York meeting with Marvel recently.

Remember folks, the likes of Mark Millar and Grant Morrison like superheroes. They love them. They sometimes have a twisted way of showing it, but they're all over them.

Garth Ennis *hates* them.

I wonder how many extra sales rubbernecking would put on.

At least, after "Brotherhood," we know it won't be Howard Mackie…

CREATOR HONES

[Green Light]And after "Ultimate X-Men?" Well, Lying In the Gutters has gone and nailed its colours to the mast with a "Ghost Rider" mini. But after that, it could well be time for Millar's creator owned project. And with JMS, JR JR and other acronymically challenged creators itching for their creator owned series, that's when we start bringing up that Epic rumour again.

Apparently a number of 'name' online writers in the comics industry have been approached as well.

DIXON'S VERSE

[Green Light]The upcoming comic book "Slap Leather" starring a gay Rawhide Kid, (the news of which I (ahem ahem) broke online back in March) has been causing quite a tizzy on and off the TV screen. Those who've actually read the damn thing seem to like it. But, hey, I liked "Truth," so what do I know? One thing that has stuck in some people's craw is that John Severin, one of the original artists of the Rawhide Kid is drawing "Slap Leather." He's now in his eighties and according to Quesada is quite amused by the whole thing.

Chuck Dixon has an alternative anecdote to share on his Web site. After talking about his original memories of the character, he shares the information that "John objected to (but finally drew) a western story I wrote in which an unmarried couple were shown together in bed (this was for the more adult-oriented 'Savage Tales' magazine). Could he have willingly participated in this? I doubt it very strongly. I'll bet he was handed a plot with no idea that the subject of the Rawhide Kid's 'secret' would be revealed in the dialogue."

Dixon then goes into a little scary rant which I'll leave you to discover for yourself. Mike Miller would probably approve, though.

ANOTHER NEW CON

[Yellow Light]With the WizardWorld pop culture/comics conventions expanding, it's time for a new competitor. Creation Cons, out of comic book conventions for decades, are back in the game. Setting up new shows, Wizard suddenly feel pressured - especially as Creation have money to spend and have already taken and exclusified one of Wizard's preferred locations.

AMERICAN PIE - THE COMIC?

[Yellow Light]This title and license is currently being shipped around interested parties.

Ye gods.

TOMMY ROT

[Green Light]Waiting For Tommy, my online occasionally-comics-related column has been going from strength to strength. Watch out this Wednesday as more strange spam enters my inbox…

RECRUITING IN THE GUTTERS

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