Lying In The Gutters

Mon, January 13th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

This is the twenty-ninth weekly episode of Lying In The Gutters and games are still afoot. Back to some of my favourite ground here, Marvel spinning, anti-spinning and readers dizzy. Right, let's crack on, this is a gossip and rumour column serving the comic book industry like you would witty remark. 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.

LOVING THE ALIENATION

[Green Light]A very handy (and unnamed) web resource has revealed a number of graphic files that appear to be from an upcoming Alan Moore project called Another Suburban Romance. Coming from Avatar, with Antony Johnston as adaptation monkey, these look really nice and should be a fine companion to the Magic Words volumes.

MARVEL TAKES FINGER OUT OF DYKE

[Yellow Light]Earlier this week, as reported everywhere, Mike Doran send out an email asking about press conferences, to a bunch of online comics media types. Everyone soon noticed the chain of emails on the end that leaked a bunch of new Marvel titles. X-Fan reported the leak, Newsarama reported it while commenting on how the email seemed fake, Comicon Pulse took the piss by refusing to report it. Not exactly Marvel's plan there. And the Gus Beezer image was then sent out, and a handy Google search revealed it was a Gail Simone piece. The strap line said that it was part of a First Wave, coming in April.

So what exactly is the significance of Marvel's name for this new slew of mentioned titles? Well, a few sources seem to indicate that "First Wave" is just that, the first of many new titles to come this year. I understand that Marvel seem to be considering increasing their number of titles in the market in an attempt to regain market share. Currently, DC beat Marvel on total sales, when reorders are counted, but do so with many more titles than Marvel. Looks like it's time for the House Of Ideas to live up to its name again. Either that or go down the Bob Harras route of flooding the market till it collapses. Let's see which one they choose, shall we?

One title is "Mystique," which is what the "Change is Good" preview image seen around the place refers to. I understand another is a new "Inhumans" monthly, written by Sean McKeever, pencilled by Matthew Clark, edited by Tom Brevoort editing and with recent Inhumans artist Jae Lee providing covers.

Look for a host of miniseries and series being rescheduled for April, when they were originally scheduled to trickle out throughout the year. One's I've heard mentioned include:

Eternals


Namor


New Mutants


Nimrod


B-Sides II

I was a big fan of the original series of "B-Sides," hopefully this second chance will see more than me and my granny buying a copy - and that was only due to her failing eyesight.

As for the fake leak e-mail from Mike Doran, was this the same man who was reportedly pretty peeved in conversations with Marvel employees a few years ago when Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti pushed their "Spider-Man is a mutant" April Fools joke years ago? Apparently not, it seems that was Matt Brady. Ah well. He posted on the Comicon thread that started much of this affair, "I was the pissy one when the Spider-X hoax came out, and I got all high and mighty, saying, "This is clearly a hoax and Another Universe [stop that snickering] doesn't cater to this kind of nonsense {huffle huffle huffle}." So I've been on both sides of this fence, but in that case, the information with the release was nonsense. In this one, as I mentioned in my original article on it, the title names released jibe with what I've heard and what Jemas has said is coming in April."

So who can you trust these days? Trust is certainly one of those words we've been hearing a lot, this week…

EARTH AXED

[Yellow Light]One series that won't be helping the Marvel line to gain domiance is the continuing "Earth X," now entering it's final arc as "Paradise X." This is Bob Harras regime title, kept going by already-signed contracts designed to keep Alex Ross sweet. Concerning alternative Marvel futures based heavily of past continuity, it's not a series that fits in with the new Marvel regime, and receives little publicity or promotion.

On the X-Fan message boards, Jim Krueger informed fans that Joe Quesada had cancelled the "A" special, which was to fit in the "Paradise X" maxi-series.

All the "Earth X" specials have been designed to fit together to tell a continual story. Already the text pages illustrated by Alex Ross were removed from the "Universe X" second series, to see Comics International and WizardWorld reproduce them independently. But with editorial changes to the "Ragnarok Special" as well, fans of the books aren't that happy.

MIDTOWN TRANSFORMATION

[Green Light]First it was the distributors being banned from sending US-licensed comics overseas. Still, UK Transformers fans consoled themselves, we can buy them direct from American shops.

Not anymore, that little loophole is being closed right now.

Midtown Comics, one of the larger New York stores with a large mail order/online presence has just told international customers that it can no longer provide them with their Transformers fix.

Lying In The Gutters has been reporting the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" title by Peter David and LeSean Thomas from Dreamwave for a while now. But what's with the other Turtles comic being published?

It seems that Dreamwave have the licence for a colour title, while the black and white title will continue as normal.

GHOSTBUSTERS SEEKS RETURN FROM GRAVE

[Green Light]Oh gods, the next comics revival on its way is "Ghostbusters." Run, run, I tell you. This can't end prettily. Look, I was the first person to tell you about "He-Man" and "Voltron." It's leading to the apocalypse, it really is. Anyway, recognise this face…?

And this piece looks awfully familiar..

CONNOR NOT OF THE PERSUASION… FOR NOW

[Yellow Light]Last week's red-lit rumour on a possible 'outing' of Connor Hawke, the young Green Arrow has been dismissed by DC. I'm told that Bob Schreck has given it a "no way" response.

Some creators, though, are not too sure. There have been hints dropped in previous issues about Connor's ambivalence towards women - so much so that Chuck Dixon, Connor's creator, has gone out of his way to introduce a little heterosexuality into his life. A recent example is Connor sleeping with a female ghost.

Dixon was emphatic that he saw no place for homosexuality in kids' comic books. In an earlier post on the Dixonverse Web site he wrote "I don't want to expect to be able to shield my kids from the subject of homosexuality as the media seems intent on bringing into my home and nothing short of cutting the electricity and boarding the windows will stop it. But I DON'T want my kids reading about it in comics. I don't want Judd Winnick or Grant Morrison or the nimrod who wrote this 'Rawhide Kid' comic informing my kids about the many facets and lifestyle choices out there in the world. I'd like to be the one to talk to them about it when they're older and I feel the time is right. I especially object to them using characters familiar to my kids to present this worldview. Could you please leave the Beast and Green Lantern alone?"

Fine words there. Remember that people, homosexuality is out - but heterosexual necrophilia is to be encouraged!!

MIRACLEMAN-MADE

[Yellow Light]One of those things you'd have thought more people would have picked up on.

Look what that damn fool Todd McFarlane's gone done now…

Out in April folks!

LONG LIVE THE KING!

[Green Light]Paul Levitz officially became President of DC Comics in the eyes of AOL/Time Warner at the beginning of this year. As a result, he has given a five year extension on his contract. He's here to stay, folks!

LEGION AIRS

[Yellow Light]There's nothing like a bit of Legion news to get the hits going. Well, the new ongoing artist for the "Legion" are Chris Batista and Mark Farmer, with cover artists Tony Harris and Tom Feister. Look for Darkseid to show up in "The Legion" on a fairly regular basis. Issue 19 is his first!

Remember chaps and chapesses, the official HTML link is http://litg.comicbookresources.com

BUTTON HOLED

[Yellow Light]I hear the new ongoing creative team for "Soldier X" after Darko Macan and Igor leave are Karl (Muties) Bollers and Arthur Ranson. Ranson, best known for his phenomenal "Button Man" work, recently drew the critically acclaimed "X-Factor" series.

MAGNETIC BRIDE

[Yellow Light]There's a wedding rumour concerning "Uncanny X-men." It's rumoured that issue 425 will see the wedding of Polaris and Havok. Look for issue 420 or 421 for the engagement announcement. Also, issue 427 may well clear up once and for all whether Mystique is Nightcrawler's mother… or father!

RAWHIDE DICK

[Green Light]So what have other old-rime Rawhide Kid creators been saying about his upcoming 'turn'? Clearly they'd be appalled at such a turnaround, right? Well, Stan Lee and John Severin clearly aren't but what about old time stalwart Dick Ayer?

On the Comic Art mailing list he wrote

"Ol' Rawhide has roused much publicity, that's for sure. Now, as I worked on his stories since the days when he carried a bull whip and when the hue and cry from the censors caused me to take the whip away and dress him in leather chaps so we could call him Rawhide Kid still, I, too, wondered about the relationship between Rawhide and the boy, Randy, who'd been in the stories even when Joe Maneely drew it before me. I wondered because the relationship between Robin and Batman had been cited.

"Is it possible Rawhide always was, but never talked about it and was more true to the times his stories took place? In the updated version of Rawhide there was no Randy. He wasn't the big hero type I'd have liked to have drawn (I did draw him bigger when I pencilled him, I think. )"

TRUST AND THE MARVEL WAY

[Yellow Light]Earlier this week, a few people got a bee in their knickers about the Marvel fake leak that went out, each site having a different take on it. But that was nothing compared to the stream of countless emails when I shared certain information I'd received, with Comicon Pulse's Jen Contino.

The story went that Mike Doran, Head of Marketing Communications at Marvel Comics had shared private AOL Instant Messages between Doran and Contino over the fake leak affair, with head of Comicon rival Newsarama- and Doran's old partner in that operation - Matt Brady.

Now the material specified was fairly innocuous, and not too different to what had been expressed in Jen's article on Comicon about the fake leak, depending on your point of view. But it's been seen as a breach of both protocol and of trust. I understand that Comicon have been spitting teeth while Mike Doran has refused to see this as such a big deal.

The game continues.

A CHALLENGE TO MY MANHOOD

[Green Light]The current Waiting For Tommy contains a challenge to me by Nick Barrucci. If I am successful, I'll be flown out to the USA for a Wizard World Convention, where a Lying In The Gutters Live will be conducted in the nearest bar. If not I'll be close to a thousand dollars down. Join in the fun, at Waiting For Tommy and watch this Wednesday's column to see if I fail at the first hurdle.

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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