Lying In The Gutters

Mon, January 24th, 2005 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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Welcome to the one hundred and thirty-fourth chapter in the latest volume of the long-running gossip and rumour column for the comic book industry. Over ten years damnit! Written by British comics commentator, me, Rich Johnston, it's read by comic book professionals and readers alike. Loved and hated equally, every Monday (ish) it brings the stories not-quite-ready-for-primetime, a look behind the curtain, a sniff of the toilet seat, the worst and the best that the comics industry can inspire. Go in with your eyes open, your blinkers off and a peg on your nose.

As for the traffic lights, RED means that the story is unlikely to be true, and you should read that with that context. AMBER signifies an identifiable agenda/slant or bias in the source that may affect the work, or that the source isn't clear, or another factor that might bring the piece into doubt. GREEN means that the story feels right to me, my gut instinct says go for it. However, as is often the case, while the gist may be correct, the detail may be wrong - and in fact I may be having an off day and the whole thing may be buggered. It wouldn't be the first time.

As I said, from the 10th to the 13th of February, I'll be in Los Angeles with work.

On the tenth, we're getting a few LA people out for a bit of a meal, followed by drinks. Or vice versa. Any venue suggestions most welcome... send them to richjohnston@gmail.com

Right. Stuff.

LEE ON MOORE - Edited 1/26/04 12:00 AM PST

[Green Light]On Thursday, the Chain Reaction BBC 4 radio show reaches Stewart Lee (Jerry Spinger, the Opera) interviewing Alan Moore (you, know, Alan Moore). It's on from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm GMT. If you're outside the UK, you can listen to it live on the website or catch it afterwards for the week after on this link. Expect it to be heavily torrented as well.

The week after, Alan Moore on Brian Eno.

You know, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from listening to just a little more Radio 4 every now and again.

MO' JOE

[Yellow Light]Some rumoured updates on last week's GO JOE story for all you GI Joe fanatics who were unable to sign up for active duty in Iraq. You know, COBRA are active there, right? That's the real reason we all invaded...

Anyway, the current "G.I. Joe" book is being cancelled at #45 - not 42 or 43. However, from issues 43-up, although Brandon Jerwa is credited as writer, publisher Josh Blaylock is guiding the series in a very hands on fashion. Which is why the books may start not resembling their solicitations quite as much...

There will be a major character death before the cancellation - a female COBRA agent.

"G.I. Joe: Reloaded" is still going to be cancelled in mid-run.

But the decision to go to a new continuity has been scrapped. The new #1 will, however, not be led by the previous continuity. The new team, led by General Rey, will be small in number and all wear standard uniforms. Joe Casey is still the writer, and artists such as Stefano Caselli, Guido Guidi and Igor Kordey are being considered.

MO' RO BO

[Yellow Light]But some may see this all a side project. Because Devil's Due has also landed the license to publish "Transformers" from Hasbro. The ink is dry. This is the second time they have tried for it, and Dreamwave's blunder paid off for them with Hasbro, who seems to be happy that both of their major toyline licensees will remain under one roof as they did with Marvel. It's unknown about creative teams, but the word is that Josh Blaylock will be writing the main TF book and current Joe artist Tim Seeley will be doing the art.

BLANKET COVERAGE

[Green Light]And one more Shanna comparison shot... original black and white... and published colour from the first issue.

DREAM DIES

[Green Light]So how much did DreamWave staffers know about the ongoing financial situation of the company before it closed doors? One tells me the financial state of the company was kept a secret from employees, and most only learned of the significant creator debts after the company went belly up. But for the last four months of operation however, a lot of DreamWave's resources were used to concentrate on DreamEngine projects.

And still the receivership information, if there is any, hasn't been released.

Since no one seems to be able to find Pat & Roger for payment in the DreamWave office....

Well, a quick look at the domain registration for Dream Engine's web address provides some insight for a few of the ex-Dreamwave creators who have been emailing me this week.

Administrative Contact


Name Roger Lee


Job Title


Postal Address Dream Engine Inc. 6 Chaplin Court Richmond Hill ON L4B 2Y1 Canada


Phone +1.9057378118


Fax


Email


superpowerraichu@aol.com

That should do you folks!

M PEOPLE

[Green Light]More, well-sourced info on House Of M, to go with the article a few weeks back.

One of its stated aims is to reduce the Marvel mutant population drastically - back to the "a few special people" days of early X-Men, rather than the current "everyone and his second cousin."

So - mass mutant death ahoy.

ROSES OF SUCCESS

[Green Light]Music and comics eh? Used to go together so well. Do you remember "Deadline? Now that was a magazine.

Charlotte Hatherley's upcoming single "Bastardo" looks to do for the UK girl's comic what A-Ha's video for "Take On Me" did. As in, make everyone go "oh, girls' comics, I remember those, you don't see them around anymore do you?" and then go on to watch the latest from Scissor Sisters.

Anyway, the video for "Bastardo is directed by Edgar Wright and features a few of his acting troupe, Simon Pegg ("Spaced," "Shaun Of the Dead"), David Walliams ("Little Britain," the Nationwide radio ads I'm going to LA to collect an award for), Lauren Lavernne ("Kenicke," my freebie list) and Julia Davis ("Nighty Night"). You may spy certain British artists at work, including LITG fave Frazer Irving. It's a great video, and the song is very rocked-up Kirsty Macoll, but I warn you... play it twice and it'll be on your internal iPod for a good few days.

Here's the video and here's the forum.

Wright also directed the video for "Summer" from Charlotte Hatherley but that didn't have any comics in it and it isn't online.

THAT'S A CLASSIC DEATH, MAN...

[Green Light]In April, the "classic" Lady Death returns in a new series from Avatar called "Abandon All Hope," with the #1/2 issue shipping in April. Written by Brian Pulido, art by Ron Adrian.

That's "classic" Lady Death. Yes, I know, not sure if the meaning of the word has changed since my English Literature class or not. But man, the fans love her!

And the suspiciously accurate Avatar rumours don't stop. Seems that "Firestorm" writer Stuart Moore will be writing "Stargate: Atlantis" as a comic book from Avatar this summer.

No sign of "Holed Up" #3 yet. But, as always, you'll be the first to know.

GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS

[Green Light]Grant Morrison will do a lot to promote Seven Soldiers.

Including passing a mini-refridgerator through his digestive system it seems.

CHARLEY SAYS

[Green Light]"Charley's War," the oversized hardcover reprinting the classic children's war story has gone over so well, a sequel is planned for November. It's performed remarkably well in UK bookshops and looks great on the shelf - often away from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section where works like "In the Shadow Of No Towers" and "Persepolis" seem trapped.

And with Titan putting out "The Spider" in May and "The Steel Claw" in September to play off the publication of "Albion" by Wildstorm, it seems like Britain's Golden Age of comics is getting its own revival.

WHITE BOY

[Green Light]It's been reported that Hugh Laurie will be playing Perry White in Bryan Singer's Superman.

I'm really not sure about that. I mean, I know what Bryan's trying to do here, but will the Superman audience really accept a straight actor in a leading role in the movie? There will be accusations that Singer's got some kind of straight agenda that I think will, ultimately, harm the franchise.

Sorry Bryan. I hope you weather the storm.

ZOINKS!

[Green Light]Turns out Scooby Doo was a drama documentary reality TV show all along. And it'd have got away with it too, if it wasn't for those pesky Austrian police.

DEAD LIKE BRYAN

[Green Light]SuicideGirls has posted an interview with Bryan Fuller, the creator of "Dead Like Me" and co-creator of "Wonderfalls."

Bryan Fuller is writing and producing the adaptation of "Amazing Screw on Head" for Sci-Fi. In the SuicideGirls interview he talks about his approach, future storylines, what Mignola wanted to change, who Fuller wants to direct the show and much, much more.

CRISIS OF INFINITE MOORCOCKS

[Red Light]Michael Moorcock has recently created a bible for the higher ups at DC on how magic works in the DC Universe.

I understand it will have major influence on the recently-announced-but-LITG-rumoured-a-few-months-ago series "Day Of Vengeance" (which probably means "Villains United" is just round the corner). Which, coincidentally, has a cover by Moorcock-contributor Walt Simonson.

I'm starting to hear that "DC Countdown" and the resulting "Crisis II" project may have major Moorcock input.

Time for a new multiverse anyone?

AMAZONI

[Green Light]DC and Marvel aren't the only ones to let sneaks of their schedules out through Amazon. Oni have their fair share as well... click the links for more details...

"Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures" Volume 2 by J. Torres & J. Bone.

"Glimmer Number" by Ted Naifeh.

"Lola" by J. Torres, John Bernales

"Northwest Passage" by Scott Chantler

GRAND DESIGN

[Green Light]The January 13th issue of Design Week, the trade paper for the UK design industry, features prominently a review of the comics adaptation of Paul Auster's "City of Glass" by David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik on its back page. Auster's metafictive detective story is due to be reprinted in the UK by the prestigious publisher Faber and Faber on February 3. The review makes no mention of the fact that Avon books first published the graphic version of "City of Glass" in 1994, over a decade ago, it instead focuses its own merits and faults as a design-based narrative.

New publicity for old. Good trick if you can pull it off.

PLUGGING THE GAPS

[Green Light]"Drive" is an original graphic novel written by Nate Southard and Shawn Richter handling the art chores. It deals with drugs, violence, cabbies, crooked cops, burnt out mafia heavies, car chases and a bunch of other really cool things. Larry Young writes the introduction. Available from Frequency Press in late February/early March. Free preview here.

"Mongo Le Magnifique 1: Une Affaire Des Sorciers," written by LF Bolle and drawn by LITG favourite Roger Mason has been published by EP Editions. It's an adaptation of the crime novel "An Affair of Sorcerers" by the American author George Chesbro, which features the dwarf P.I. Mongo The Magnificent; an ex-circus performer who lives in 70's New York.

More of Roger's work here. He's also working on a sequel. And English rights are available.

And while I'm in full plug mode, one of my favourite comic shops, Comix-Shop is having a half price sale on everything, from the 29th to the 2nd of February in their Maidenhead store.

And one of my other favourite comic shops, Orbital, has moved from a basement in Old Compton Street, London to a basement on Charing Cross Road next to Mr Topps and opposite Sainsburys. So get a discount comic, a discount haircut and a discount sandwich in one go.

LEE LINES

[Yellow Light]A few people have commented on the widely reported Stan Lee case, wondering how Marvel could have signed such a contract giving Stan 10% of all media rights. While the case has concentrated on what that actually means, I think even at the most generous of levels, Marvel got a bargain.

After Marvel went into bankruptcy, it was argued that this made a number of contracts void. And as the company emerged, all creators were sent rather stringent contracts "clarifying" existing deals. Some signed them happily. Some got their contracts negotiated.

But it's arguable than Stan Lee could have walked away owning the lot, sinking Marvel. On that basis, 10% was but a sizeable drop in the ocean.

And, yes, if the likes of Steve Ditko didn't sign a new contract after bankruptcy (and signs are that he didn't), well...

WHAT?

[Green Light]"Hack/Slash: The stage play."

"HACK/ SLASH, Horror comic book multimedia stage adaptation will hold auditions Thursday, January 27, 7-10pm, & Sunday, January 30 12-2 PM, Sheil Park, Chicago. Need young, fiery women (think 'Buffy' with an edge), extremely tall men and assorted college types. Info: 773-989-4515."

Adapted and directed by Chad Wise who previously developed "Evil Dead: The Musical."

Tell them Lying In The Gutters sent you.

WRONGSHOT

[Green Light]From last week's LITG, Brian K. Vaughan writes stating that "Ultimate Longshot" isn't gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"Yeah, I hate to even correct the rumor, since I sound like a homophobic publicist racing to assure the tabloid-reading public that his star client is straight... but when our arc ends, and Longshot isn't 'outted,' I don't want readers to think that Marvel squashed that element of the story, you know? It was never in there.

"But disappointed readers hoping for hot man-on-man action can always check out the current arc of 'Ex-Machina' (recently nominated for a GLAAD Award!), which tackles the controversial subject of same-sex marriage."

And what sort of rumour monger would I be if I didn't give the new Ex Machina TPB a UK or US plug while I'm at it?

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:richjohnston@gmail.com

  • 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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