Lying In The Gutters

Mon, July 11th, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOL 2, COLUMN 8

They missed.

Anyway, Lying In The Gutters is the number one source for comic industry gossip, rumour and general nonsense. Yes, even more than the Bendis board. Red light means it's probably bollocks, Amber light means it's could be tainted by a partisan source, Green light means you can rely on it. Up to a point. Maybe.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

[Yellow Light]What can we expect to hear at San Diego? Here's a checklist - some will be announced some will not. Not yet anyway.

Geoff Johns on a Superman title. "Infinite Crisis" spin-off books such as "Shadowpact," "OMAC" and "Checkmate" (with a Suicide Squad style book being discussed)-- with some of the same creative teams as the minis. A "Freedom Fighters" mini or series. A "Shazam" mini or series. Expect both one Batman and Superman regular title to be cancelled to be replaced with "Batman Confidential" and "Superman Confidential."

Also look for the already LITG-confirmed Morrison/Kubert "Detective Comics" to get a further airing next to the harbour.

Expect one surprise A-list Marvel exclusive and one surprise A-list DC exclusive.

It might be worth someone asking if the DC Universe titles will be rebooted with numbering from issue 1 after the One Year Gap (first mentioned last year in LITG... snoochies!). It's under discussion, maybe a decision will have been reached for this week.

And no, I'm not going to San Diego. Shut up. However, feel free to text me your gossip and email me your pictures, direct from the convention floor or bar. Details at the bottom of the page. Put them into your mobile/cell phone contact list... now!

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

[Yellow Light]The pro grapevine seems convinced that "Captain America" writer Ed Brubaker is Brian Bendis' replacement as writer on "Daredevil," which will also be announced at San Diego.

However, a few sources in the know tell me Brubaker has not yet been offered the writing job on "Daredevil." And that even if he was, he may be too busy to take the work right now.

Nevertheless a certain segment of the industry seems convinced it's going to happen. Is it possible they could collectively will this appointment into existence? Maybe they just need a gathering of such individuals in one place. In San Diego, say.

GET INTO POSITION

[Green Light]As of the 8th July, Patty Jeres's position at DC Comics has been advertised to be filled.

I understand that a number of creators and retailers may be making their feelings about this known to DC execs during the San Diego convention.

Other positions available at DC include Admin/Clerical Exec Assistant, Publicity Coordinator, Wildstorm Editor, Group Editor - Collected Editions, Ad Sales, VP Marketing, Pre-Press Services Artist, Manga Editor, Senior Royalty Accountant, Purchasing Coordinator and Operations Administrator are also currently advertised.

Bring your resumes to San Diego!

DAN DARE

[Yellow Light]This will be the first San Diego where the impact of Dan DiDio's policies at DC will be clearer.

Much of the current editorial staff seems unhappy with the restructuring of DC. This may be natural, change is often resisted, and certainly DiDio has gained much kudos for reinventing the appeal of the monthly comic book, in a time when sales had been shifting to the trade market, as well as bringing in creative talent thought lost to Marvel.

However, much of this appears to be decided "on the fly," leaving some staffers unsure of what's meant to be happening next. DC has had a tradition for planning far in advance. DiDio has been shaking that up considerably.

This has also led to some retailer dissatisfaction about lack of information in solicits and mix-ups about which books are involved in crossover promotions or not. This only affects DC Universe books right now-- it seems DCU editorial isn't always sure what their own books will actually be about by the time they're published, when Previews information is due.

And naturally, from the creative side, there are certain mumblings of displeasure from certain writers over the focus on "Infinite Crisis" and the fact that Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison are calling a lot of the shots. Less so for Grant, as he generally creates his own worlds which others can spin off from, but Geoff Johns is seen as being more hands on.

This is the flipside for heavy editorial based comics. A strong continuity and event-led publishing is generally very popular with the traditional readers for a certain period of time, but can cause trouble in the ranks. Ironically, creatives seeing two of their own promoted to privileged positions only exacerbates that.

It can be a harsh way to publish, but it's one that's working. For now.

V 4 77

[Yellow Light]The London bombings has been raised internally at Warner Bros as a reason to change the schedule of "V For Vendetta." This would be unfortunate for the project as much of its appeal is based around the fifth of November, 2005 - the 400th anniversary of the attempted destruction of the Houses of Parliament by Guy Fawkes in the Gunpowder Plot. Apparently, the story of a lone bomber blowing up London, including the Underground, has naturally raised a lot of flags. This in the same work that the novel "Incendiary," about a terrorist attack on London, was published and had the advertising withdrawn and movie deal also in limbo.

Since I understand Warner Bros representatives read this column, and in some cases act on it, as a London resident who walked to work through the chaos last Thursday, I'd like to voice my support not to change the date. We've had bombs before, we've had bombs again, much of "V For Vendetta" revolves itself around the concept of terrorism-- one of the appeals of the movie. The recent events have made it more relevant, not less.

Warner Bros are considering a press release to clarify their position once it is confirmed.

I've also been e-mailed a copy of the "V For Vendetta" script. It's impossible to read this objectively. I keep running up against Evey not setting out as a prostitute before she gets attacked, the V V V V speech, the abandonment of any mention of anarchy, the allegory of Guy Fawkes being boosted, the lack of subtlety in dialogue, V not being God in his address to the public, the reinvention of the Voice Of Fate as a shock jock and the mixture of Americanism and Dick Van Dykeism of London.

But the Valerie monologue is there and remains relatively unscathed. Possibly makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Expect a full review next week.

FANTASTIC INVESTMENT

[Green Light]Last week investors JP Morgan downgraded their forecast for Marvel Entertainment shares, citing limited catalysts between now and 2007, traditional weakness following movies, and risk of weak "Fantastic Four" box office affecting toy sales and sentiment, and the report of Axel Alonso getting soaked. Okay, no they didn't cite that last bit. But I was getting bored.

Silly muppets. The film boomed at the box office, beating the odds, leading to Marvel's share price staying stable then spiking up. Even though it's come down a bit since, it's well above the JP Morgan sell point…

SENTRY LEVEL PRICE

[Green Light]QVC used car salesman Nick Barrucci is currently plugging both Dynamic Forces "Sentry" #1 editions, one signed by Paul Jenkins for $9.99, the other by John Romita Jr. for $19.99 each. I'd be insulted if I were Paul Jenkins. Oh and while you're at it, get Mark Waid's signed "Zombie Tales" #1 for $7.99.

There must be a sliding scale. I think if I signed a comic its value would plummet.

DARK DUCKS

[Green Light]Keen readers of LITG (both of you) will have noted Alan Moore talked about a multi-media aspect to the last DC volume of the "League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen" series. Moore also described the book as "the best thing in the entire universe ever" and assured me that this wasn't hyperbole.

Cyrille Mey talked with artist Kevin O'Neill and reported on Millarworld

that the volume will contain a narrative "jumping all over the place from the dawn of time to the fifties." As to the recording studio Moore alluded to, this is for a CD which will be shipped with the comic, including "songs performed by fifties characters of the book, Moore does the singing, la Roy Orbison, American accent and all."

For an earlier example of Alan Moore's singing, LITG recommends The Sinister Ducks.

UNJUST DESSERTS

[Green Light]In the wake of the Dreamwave bankruptcy, spare a thought for one of its biggest victims, Pat Lee. How has his lifestyle been affected?

Pat has recently been seen driving his Porsche around Toronto, visiting his favourite coffee shop-- Just Desserts-- where he recruited coffee server Derek Choo-wing there as his Business Manager and other managerial staff.

One sacrifice Pat has had to make it to change his licence plate, which used to read DW CEO but now has a regular plate. Apparently although the car was company owned, Pat was able to pay it off before Dreamwave went bankrupt and transfer the ownership to himself.

Pat has now moved out of his parents house and has recently moved into a brand new condominium.

Lee is currently working for Marvel on "Iron Man." Dreamwave creators still continue to be owed large sums of money, including having to pay FedEx bills that DreamWave didn't cover. Pat Lee is also relaunching "Cyberforce" with Ron Marz for Top Cow.

Just Desserts is located at 300 West Beaver Creek Rd, Richmond Hill, Toronto.

SAN DIEGO SURVIVAL KIT

[Green Light]What you need to get the most out of San Diego.

Five maps. You will lose the first four.

A shower at every available opportunity. Please. For everyone's sakes.

The knowledge of where the "key" parties are. IDW, Oni, Wildstorm and Marvel are the best people to blag one out of. Tell them I sent you if you want to get kicked out. Try and tag along with Heidi MacDonald. Yes, all of you.

Trainers. Sneakers. Pumps. Whatever you call them. You'll be doing a lot of walking.

Water bottle. A big one. Fill it at every available opportunity.

A British or Irish accent. Start practicing yours now. Works wonders.

A dress sense. Try a shirt. Not in a T shape. Maybe even a jacket. Why look like the Simpson's caricature.

Don't dress as a Stormtrooper.

Do take a camera to photograph people dressed as Stromtroopers. Especially fat ones. Especially in the toilets.

Also for whatever ludicrously sexist booth one of the publishers will have chosen to exhibit. See "Species III."

And for the largest people you see. Especially if they've got a belly wheel.

Mobile phone. Cell phone. Futurephone. Whatever. Full of numbers of people you want to meet up with. Also send text messages/SMS full of juicy gossip to 011447801350982 during the con! Or email them to richjohnston@gmail.com

Directions to Mam Tor and Vicious Circle (see below) to buy comics written by me.

Buy cool stuff you can't get at home. Resist the urge to buy this week's comics, or heavy Bible-sized graphic novels you could buy from your local retailer. Fill up on cool indie stuff you've never heard of instead. See previous point.

A diet plan. Seriously, use the con to lose weight. Eat breakfast, then keep yourself too busy to have lunch and keep walking. You should lose a couple of kilos.

Realise that not everything in the world is about comics. There's toys, cards, movies and pornography too!

VAMPIRES AND MIRRORS DON'T MIX

[Green Light]While everyone's oohing and ahhing over Dave McKean's designs in the "Mirrormask," let's not forget his truly mind-bending production airing later this year... Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Vampire Lestat: The Musical!" Though it's unlikely McKean can create anything quite as horrific as Elton John's stitched in ginger hair.

Lying In The Gutters has discovered a totally fictitious section from the show:

Saturday Night's Alright (For Biting). Not From Vampire Lestat: The Musical

It's getting on have you heard this song


Cos this plot is as clear as mud


It's seven o'clock and I want to rock


Want to get a belly full of blood

My old man's deader than a barrel full of junkies


And my old lady got the guillotine


My sister looked past it with her head in a basket


A handful of blood makes her hair sheen

Don't give us no homoeroticism


Or whether it's a lifestyle we choose


Saturday night's alright for biting


Good enough for Tom Cruise

Plot's about as creaky as a swinging gate


Vampires rock sounds a little bit shite


`Cause Saturday night's the night I bite


Saturday night's alright alright alright

Well they're packed pretty tight in here tonight


Ticket touts bled them all night


It's rock and roll satire of the music biz


Won't you sing and dance to "fangs for the memories"

A couple of the sound that I really like


Are the sounds of a chinging till and box office flair


I'm a bit of a prat called the Vampire Lestat


With songs by a man with unconvincing hair

(Cue oversized fly with the head of Bernie Taupin descend while several bat mannequins flap their plastic wings and everything swirls into a goldfish bowl full of chess pieces. The bowl is knocked over. The End.)

PLUGGING MY OWN NONSENSE

On sale at San Diego: "Event Horizon" 1 from Mam Tor at booths 4903, 4905, 4907, and 5006. "Wannabee" 1 from Vicious Circle at F10 and F11. "Holed Up" 1 and 2 from Avatar in the quarter bins. Avatar publisher William Christensen will be in the bars trying it on with the ladies.

Next week, I'll most likely be flying up to Glasgow to participate in a new culture TV show which will be discussing the "Global Frequency" TV pilot. This should air, with clips, on the new Channel 4 spinoff, channel More4, later in the year.

My eBay stuff is down to its last day. More going up later.

SMALL PRINT

For other comic and non-comic book related nonsense, check out the Twistblog.

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum.

Contact me on richjohnston@gmail.com or on AOL Instant Messenger as TwistRich

You can also write to me at 8 Robin Hood Lane, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3PU ENGLAND

Or call me/text me on 0780 135082 from the UK or 01144780 1350982 from the US.

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