Lying In The Gutters

Tue, August 23rd, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2, #14

Welcome to the most popular and longest running comics column on the internet. In its various forms, Lying In the Gutters has covered rumours and gossip in the comics industry for twelve long glorious and quite scary years. All stories are sourced from well connected sources and checked with respective publisher representatives before publication. The veracity of each story is judged by me and given a spotlight - Green is the most reliable, Amber means there's likely an interest involved or the likelihood isn't set and Red means even I can't quite bring myself to believe it.

Lying In The Gutters is for your entertainment. Neither Fair Nor Balanced.

DREAM SITE

[Green Light]Dream Engine, the new company started by Roger and Pat Lee, has updated its website significantly. And it's an aural and visual feast, setting out the company's plans and achievements in a very snazzy fashion. Must have cost a small Porsche, this.

It's also totally ripe for taking the piss.

From the start page: "It is often said 'A picture is worth a thousand words'" - Actually it's worth more if you don't have to pay for it.

There's a section for "Principals"... I thought they didn't have any? But under that section are biographies for Pat, Roger and Chairman Of Production Yeon Yi Rhee, in a codename/superpowers fashion. That should be comical enough in itself, but that's not enough for Dreamwave.

Apparently Pat Lee has, "Mastered the venemous brush..." and his unique skill is "Preying." I doubt many of the DreamWave employees would argue with that. Pat may mean "Praying" here - but probably doesn't mean "Paying." He also "Treasures Loyalty, and detests Rats." Rats, being the people who pointed out he wasn't paying them, supposedly. As opposed to repeatedly promising payments that were never delivered in exchange for work that his company profited from, who dropped out of contact with his freelancers instead of simply contacting them to let them know what was really happening - when he previously had no problems in the past calling people at 2 or 3 am, or later, asking for urgent help with pressing business...

As for Roger Lee, his dislikes are, "Dishonesty and Greed." You couldn't make this up, could you?

In their Services section, covers to comics now qualify as "Box And Packaging Art." Some of their "successful properties" in the Identity Package section include "Capsoul," which never came out and is owned by someone else now. In fact, it seems that all or most of those have never been released... Luckily, "Capsoul" still seems on track for its Winter 2003 release.

They also have Takara "Transformers" box art in the packaging section, marked copyright 2005 Dream Engine despite the fact that they were never contracted to do that art. It was actually used for free by Takara as a result of their relationship with Hasbro...Dreamwave actually complained about that situation, which is interesting as they are now promoting it as a proud accomplishment.

And if, as it appears, the "Client" list is largely recycled from DreamWave, it's interesting that they accept credit for that company's work, but no responsibility for its finances, problems or debt.

And did you know that Pat Lee relaunched "X-Men, Batman and more?" Well, now you do!

Any more for any more?

CRISIS OF CONVERSATION

[Red Light]The following piece depends on its validity from a single fan source. Nevertheless it sounded intriguing, but if true is a major spoiler to the fate of a character hinted at for "Infinite Crisis" a few columns ago. So more whited out text, just in case.

One Lying In The Gutter reader writes:

"I was at the crisis panel at Chicago. During the Q and A someone made a comment on the Flash. DiDio had a long reply, and ended with, "Wally's a great Flash for the time being." A few minutes later, someone said, "For the time being?" DiDio replied "Shit!" He then acted like he was joking, but after the panel Greg Rucka was talking to him and kept saying, 'Geoff is going to kill you!'"

And back to reality. Oh, one minor snippet from the same person. "Also, of no relevance to anything else, DiDio looks remarkably like Mario."

Funny, we always preferred….

That's Dan "Hey Now" DiDio there.

BEATING THE DRUM

[Green Light]Simon Bisley's been drumming for an unreconstructed heavy metal band for the last few years, Kaotika. They've been in rehearsal for the last year with a few gigs, working on new material for a single and album release.

And they've handily got an album cover/promo poster on hand, when he puts down the sticks.

Kaotica will have a schedule of London gigs soon, starting with Vendetta at the Purple Turtle on Saturday 17th September, as well as Brighton Con in November and Bedford Esquires on October 21st (a Friday) with likely a special Slimelight night early next year.

However this month's Comics International mistakenly printed a dummy flier, featuring a wrong CD name, a wrong date and a not-ready-for primetime web address…

But if anyone would like a promo CD, there are a couple of hundred going at lp400fan@aol.com -£3.50 / $7 for the one-track Dressed in Blood CD, and £5 / $10 for the "FUCK YES" Live in the Studio EP, featuring The Priest, The Three, Dressed in Blood, Morphing Blood and Destroyer of the Morgue.

This really is unreconstructed isn't it? Should also be available at comic shops in the next few weeks too.

BLOATED ALIAS

[Green Light]Do you want an oversized Omnibus hardcover edition of the entire "Alias" series in one volume? You do? Then let Marvel know here.

And watch the race to dump all the first hardcovers on eBay as a result...

WALKING HARDCOVER

[Green Light]Just as "Invincible" was recently collected as an "Ultimate" hardcover edition (before selling out fast! it's getting a second print), so "Walking Dead" will be getting a similar treatment, oversized in a slipcase, at the beginning of December, containing issues 1 to 24 of the zombie survivor story, along with extras, for $100. The book will be restricted to initial orders only though...

DOCTOR WHO? - OH HIM.

[Yellow Light]Word reached me of an FX team working on test footage of... well... okay, spoilers on.

Morphing an image of the head of the late Antony Ainley (who played The Master in Doctor Who during the nineteen eighties) into the head of... well. Antony Stewart. Head, against a cricketing background. Does this mean that a) it's a stunt, b) they're ignoring Eric Robert's portrayal of The Master in the Paul McGann TV movie or c) Antony Stewart Head will play The Master in the second series of the new Doctor Who?

And we're back again. Tissue Compression Eliminator anyone?

LITG TRUEFAX

[Green Light]Did you know Brian Wood hasn't written anything for AiT/Planet Lar for over a year?

Did you know Jim Valentino published his "Shadowhawk" story from The Image Hardcover as an ashcan at San Diego in 2003?

Did you know that "V For Vendetta" the movie has been put back from the very appropriate 400th anniversary of Guy Fawkes Night, to St Patrick's Day? Arguments whether a film showing the blowing up of various bits of London is more suitable to a celebration of Irish patriotism may begin.

BATBAN

[Green Light]Lying In The Gutters tries not to do stories that everybody else has already published. But in the case of this Batman/Robin art gallery fandango, I just can't help myself.

So what is it about Mark Chamberlain's pieces that proved so objectionable? They've been around for a while, it took this one art gallery exhibition to get the DC legal people on the case. And I didn't hear DC kick off about a couple of pieces by Andy Warhol.

Or Gilles Barbier.

And Chris Ware's portrayal of the character in "Acme Novelty Library" wasn't exactly flattering.

Could it really be the homosexuality aspect that puts it over the edge? Sensitivity over those allegations made by Frederick Wertham over the relationship between Batman and Robin? Certainly Superman and Batman icon types were finally approved at the highest levels at DC for the last issue of Mark Millar's "Authority"… and the portrayal has progressed further since.

The sexualisation of a minor?

Nope.

Maybe it's just a culmination of all things that turns what would appear to be fair use of brand symbols to create new works art with new associations. Either way it appears to be a PR disaster, with so many news sources picking up the story and spreading the images far and wide.

Either way, I think Joe Quesada would be missing a trick if he didn't sign Chamberlain up to do some Marvel Comics work…

BYRNE VISION

[Yellow Light]Previews has made official the LITG report that issue 18 will be the last Doom Patrol. Byrne has confirmed that when editor Eddie Berganza leaves the Superman titles shortly, so will the current "Action Comics" team. And now it's been confirmed to me by a DC source that the gorgeous looking "Blood Of The Demon" will also not continue after issue 18. However, given Byrne's deserved reputation for production, expect a number of new projects to be announced as a result-- as well as trade paperbacks of older work for Marvel and DC, and the more recent "Superman: True Brit."

Though Byrne does seem to be having certain difficulties with DC, reading between the lines. Online posters have made much of the differences between Byrne's pencils on "Action Comics" and the inks by Nelson DeCastro where he seems to redraw much of Byrne's work. These are a few examples prominent online;

Comparison by Andrew Kneath

Comparison by IMWAN.

Byrne has not directly criticized this, though has stated that he hasn't looked at an issue since the second one was published, and refers people to look at his gallery of original pencils for the series.

Aside from a change in facial expressions and physical poses, Byrne seems to draw a younger looking Superman than appears on the page. How much of this is Nelson's doing and how much is editorial is unsure. Fill-in inkers appears to have kept far closer to Byrne's pencils, but Gail Simone states in one case, "In fairness to Nelson, my understanding is that that panel was changed as an editorial decision."

In another example, Byrne's request that a "Doom Patrol" reference be removed for continuity purposes seems to have been overlooked.

Byrne has continued to make other comments here and here, but for a man with a reputation for speaking his mind, these seem remarkably restrained.

Gail Simone has repeatedly expressed her support for the published work, as a team effort by all concerned saying, "I think the end result is that the book looks fabulous. Definitely one of the best-looking books out there right now. And that's all because of John, Nelson and Guy (Major)" and that "It's been a dream of Nelson's to ink JB for years, and I don't think he'd give it up too easily now!"

And although sales haven't been booming, all issues of "Action Comics" so far have sold out at distributor and retail level, which is usually a precursor to a decent rise.

CRAIG'S LIST

[Green Light]The new Writers Handbook 2006, for British writers, journalists, publishers and editors has a Writing For Comics section written by Scottish Media Personality Of The Year and long LITG friend, Craig McGill.

So much so that he went and plugged me as a way to shill your latest comics project.

How on earth did I get that reputation?

ANY ILEX LUTHORS OUT THERE?

[Green Light]How-to art and design books in graphic-novel style Ilex Press, the UK's leading publisher of illustrated books on digital art and design, is developing a new series of practical how-to titles on creative digital photography, illustration, cartooning, animation and web design. The books will be in the style of graphic novels, and will feature two principal characters called the Pixel Twins who act as guides and teachers.

They are looking for a cartoonist/comics illustrator to help develop the style for the series, work up the look and personality of the characters, and create material for advance sales presentations.

If this sounds like you, please email Alan Buckingham, Commissioning Editor, with web links to representative samples of your work to

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]With Image title "Ascend" prepping a Special Edition in September, we thought we'd have a look at some Christopher Shy's swipes, when watching his favourite movies, such as "Underworld" and "Reign Of Fire."


SMALL PRINT

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

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

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