Lying In The Gutters

Mon, January 27th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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This is the thirty-first weekly episode of Lying In The Gutters, the industry's premier rumour column and gossip sheet. So, knuckleheads, 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.

The Squiddy Awards are kicking off right now as well, I'm up for Best Journalist for this very farrago of innuendo and supposition and Waiting For Tommy, as well as Best Webcomic.

SEQUELITIS CATCHING

[Yellow Light]I hear talk that a sequel to the mini-series "Marvels" is in the offing.

"Marvels" was the four part prestige series by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross that kicked them both into the A-list of comic creators, and sparked two new comics fads: the painted superhero comic and the nostalgic exploration of comics history compared with the then grim 'n' gritty tone popular at the time.

At the time of "Marvels'" success, Kurt Busiek did plan a sequel to "Marvels," but there were creative differences. Busiek stated that he'd use the material in "Astro City," while Marvel published the project with a different writer as Code Of Honour.

Alex Ross, refusing to work on a sequel, continued with the themes of "Marvels" in a number of projects for DC and the current ongoing "Earth X" series. Recently, Marvel have been seen to drop support for the continuation of the "Earth X" series.

"Marvels II" is reported to be written by Kurt Busiek with art by Phil Winslade. Most recently seen on the MAX revival of "Howard the Duck," Phil's most famous work is the "Goddess" mini-series for Vertigo, noted for its intricate detail in portraying very visceral events.

"Marvels II" is reported as being developed by editor Tom Brevoort.

ORDINARY WAR

[Yellow Light]The success of "Ultimate War" might lead to a non-Ultimate version of the same, an X-Men/Avengers crossover in the offing, with regular Marvel handyman Chuck Austen on hand.

TAKING STOCK

[Yellow Light]One of the reasons Marvel have changed the recent Ultimate coverstock from their original ultra-slick replacement, is down to the damages being called in by retailers and Diamond. Lots of dents, cuffs and scratches all over the shop. With their no overprint policy, that's been cutting in on Marvel's revenue. Hence the quick one-two and a slightly thicker cover stock again.

Of course, that means speculators bumping up the prices on decently distributed copies of "Ultimate War" and "Ultimate Spider-Man," but hey.

MIRACLE MAN

[Yellow Light]DC appear to have confirmed at least one of the creators on the upcoming DC/Wildstorm superhero line. When last we heard, the lineup was:

"Vigilante" by Rick Veitch and Carlos D'anda,


"OMAC" by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo,


"Adam Strange" by Zander Cannon and Andrew Robinson


"Mister Miracle" by Jeph Loeb and Adam Hughes.

In Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's "Batman" #611 on page 11, there's a newspaper in the panel with half a headline visible. It reads 'Jeph Loeb to do a Mist... Mira...'

Confirmation? However DC sources indicate this might just be Jim Lee playing games.

WHY ARE WE WAITING?

[Yellow Light]"Witchblade" and "Tomb Raider" fans? Wondering why your recent issues have been delayed? Intiguingly, it's not down to the books themselves, but rather the schedule of EVO. As their plots spin out of this book, and it has yet to be completed, fully completed versions of "Witchblade" and "Tomb Raider" are just hanging around Top Cow on the scrounge, waiting for Marc Silvestri, already working on a "New X-Men" arc, to finish up.

FLOOD BARRIER

[Yellow Light]As reported in an LITG update earlier in the week, the "unfathomable" mention in Marvel's teaser for Namor is a reference to longtime Fathom colorist JD Smith, who will be coloring the monthly "Namor" book.

What's slightly more worrying, for British readers, is that the recent Previews states that "Namor" #1, the .25 cent promotional issue, will not be made available to the UK. Oh, we'll get issue 2 alright, no worries, but as for issue 1, we can go swivel.

Possibly not the best way to kick off the Tsunami line…

TURNER GATHERS TALENT

[Yellow Light]Mike Turner's new publishing company may still put out titles through Image Comics, just circumventing Top Cow. Turner seems to be looking at friends old and new, from within Top Cow and without, to form his new venture. The only name I've heard repeatedly is "Fathom" artist Talent Caldwell.

ONLY A HUSK.

[Green Light]Future "New X-Men" plotlines have been revealing themselves. That someone will die in "New X-Men" #140. That the X-Men will launch an attack on the Weapon Plus programme. And that in "Uncanny X-Men," Husk snuffs it.

How appropriate. I understand that new Web site 411 Mania will feature confirmation of the latter in a Chuck Austen interview later today. In that interview, Austen will also confirm that he did want to kill off Monet, that his decision not to had nothing to do with Morrison wanting to use the character, but his lack of understanding of Marvel science. However A-list X-Men characters will die in the near future.

PROS AND CONS

[Yellow Light]Lying In The Gutters had reported previously on the new comic conventions being created by Creation to steal WizardWorld's thunder. And, indeed, their new big convention in Los Angeles this week is supposed to be getting in there before Wizard.

Publicity hasn't been great however, and comic book professionals, the amount of whom attending often affects their popularity may well be staying away in droves.

Why? Well, comic pros traditionally get into such shows for free. Not this time, and the convention doesn't mind who knows it.

Attempts to get a "pro" or "guest" registration have been met with clueless responses on the phone, and enquirers are told they'll have to buy a table, if they work in the industry and want to attend.

A couple of B-listers rang recently and were told "We're tired of you people trying to get in for free. You're not special, you have to pay like anyone else." When asked to speak to a supervisor, because they'd never heard of a con that didn't want pros to attend in number, the manager refused to take the call.

Looks like the word is out and pros aren't going to play ball. Looks like WizardWorld may have an opportunity to set up shop before 2006…

TITANIC DAZE

[Green Light]Jamie Boardman, of Titan Books, is moving to Rebellion, publishers of 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine.

Jamie. Stop. Drokking.

Maybe Jamie is in a unique position to sort out the Zenith mess that currently has thousands of copies of Zenith Book One licensed by Rebellion, published by Titan Books stored in a warehouse with no one able to sell them. See more about this in Wednesday's Waiting for Tommy interview with Grant Morrison.

LOOSE HAVEN

[Yellow Light]Remember my report a month or so back about fansites Greyhaven and Comic Book Galaxy getting into bed together? Well, it's all split up horribly. See here for Grayhaven's side - what you can decipher from it.

That Alan David Douane, eh? If it's not Jason Brice, it's Tom Brevoort, it's Johanna Draper Carlson, it's Grayhaven…

RICH JOHNSTON HAS A GO AT ROB LIEFELD

[Green Light]The latest Waiting For Tommy features an interview with Rob Liefeld in the same popular vein as last week's Mark Millar interview. It's also inspired a raging debate about the causes of the boom and bust between Rob Liefeld and high-profile retailer Brian Hibbs, here.

And on Wednesday, Waiting for Tommy features an interview with Grant Morrison, about X-Men, art and pornography… and Zenith.

RECRUITING IN THE GUTTERS

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Be seeing you.

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