Lying In The Gutters

Mon, April 3rd, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 46

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 individuals and checked with respective publisher representatives before publication. Mostly. 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.

Quote Of The Week: "I don't consider myself to be following Jim Lee." -- Neal Adams on following Jim Lee on "All Star Batman & Robin" with Frank Miller at the Big Apple Con.

MOORE REASONS

[Green Light]Last week's report on Alan Moore at Tate Britain had a few interesting follow-ups.

Firstly, Alvin Schwartz, known most for his Superman work in the 1940s, got in touch by e-mail. Seems the book that Moore cited, "An Unlikely Prophet" is getting a reprint shortly and Schwartz has written a sequel for publication later in the year. Schwartz asked me to put him in touch with Moore, which I've done. Who knows what the two will cook up together?

"An Unlikely Prophet" is an essential text for anyone interested in the history of American comics, the principles behind fiction and many of the themes Alan Moore has been exploring of late. Consider it "Kavalier & Clay" meets the Superboy from Earth Prime. Here it is at Amazon US and Amazon UK. I'll let you know when the new edition is available.

A For Anarchy, first mentioned here, have been grabbing quite the press and inspired some Spanish adbuster attempts…

And I managed to get into a bit of a back and forth on the Newsarama boards with movie producer Don Murphy, the guy behind the movie versions of From Hell, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and currently Transformers. Sadly, he called a stop to it after tantalisingly revealing that Fox didn't settle over the "Cast Of Characters" legal suit, despite that being the reported version. Anyone elucidate further?

I understand that Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's "Lost Girls" is en route to the printer. This is going to be a sensational project folks, in Absolute-style format, three oversized hardcover volumes in a slipcase, from Top Shelf. I feel a media frenzy coming on.

[Green Light]BOLDLY GOING WHERE MARVEL, DC, GOLD KEY, CHECKER, MALIBU, WILDSTORM, TITAN AND TV COMIC HAVE GONE BEFORE...

IDW have the Star Trek license.

ORIGINAL SIN

[Green Light]Announced by Frank Miller at the Big Apple Con, there are more "Sin City" comics to come, based on storylines in the "Sin City 2" movie. The first will revolve around Nancy's response to Hannigan's suicide. He also stated there will be a new Martha Washington story with Dave Gibbons as part of an "Absolute Martha Washington" collection.

DEALS WITHIN DEALS

[Red Light]Last week, LITG reported that, post-solicitation, John Byrne withdrew from the "Superman Returns" project, after discovering that it was not to be an adaptation of the original "Superman" movie, as he had been previously told.

I understand that this did not go down at all well at DC and that editorial had briefly fired him off all projects. But, after 24 hours of discussion, the decision was reversed and Byrne was reinstated on his DC titles.

Look for McFarlane to ink a Byrne cover on a new DC project. Such an unlikely combination has resulted in McFarlane demanding to ink Byrne if he's to work for DC, and Byrne getting a new "Generations" project approved out of it. And DC finding a way to keep everybody happy. They're a bit better at it these days.

ALPHA FIGHT

[Green Light]"Alpha Flight" is Marvel's on-again-off-again super hero series created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, and originally launched in their own series by Byrne. That series was probably my favourite Byrne work of all time, and it's one I can regularly return to with much fondness. Marvel, time for an Essential Volume, no?

Anyway, since then, Marvel have regularly disbanded the team, banded them again, killed them, brought them back to life, and put them through all sorts of creative and commercial loops before recently killing them all off again. It's part of strategy that will see a relaunch, the new team and status quo being set up in "Civil War" by Mark Millar. So, what's the new twist that will give Alpha Flight that all important edge? White text for the sensitive amongst you.

The new Alpha Flight series will be manned by American heroes who have moved to Canada as a result of the government legislation enacted in the 'Civil War' megacrossover. It plays off the history of Americans escaping the draft during the Vietnam War, as well as recent declarations by certain people that they'd move to Canada if Bush was re elected (and then not). It's politically observant, satirical, colonialist and intentionally controversial. And leading the team? Captain America, obviously.

You've got to hand it to Millar. That'll set the message boards buzzing.

YOUNG LIVES

[Green Light]Who are the "Young Avengers" really? Look for some upcoming revelations!

White spoiler text on!

Hulkling is the son of Captain Mar-Vell and a Skrull princess.

Wiccan/Asgardian is the son of Scarlet Witch. Along with Thomas, the new character introduced last issue, they are the Witch's lost children.

Yeah, okay, you all saw that last one coming, I know, I know...

GREEK CONVENTIONS

[Green Light]Adam Kubert, Pete Milligan, Jim Demonakos, Joseph Linsner, Andrew Wildman and Dez Vylenz (showing his "In the Mindscape Of Alan Moore" movie), are attending an Athens comic convention "Comidom" on May 6th/7th, as well s the majority of the Greek comics scene creators. This is the first Athens convention of its size, and you can find more here.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME - Updated 1:30 PM PDT

[Yellow Light]When the Jemas and Quesada show came to town, with their whoopin' and their hollerin' and their drivin' DC outta town. They both made a lot of pointed public jibes at DC Comics. To the extent that DC top brass went to Marvel top brass to complain, executive to executive, only to be dismissed. When DC met with Marvel over their decision to drop the Comics Code, Joe and Bill only brought with them ex-DC employees to rub it in. And Quesada gave an interview where he mocked DC's ability to exploit their main assets.

Through it all, DC publicly remained aloof, with only Bob Wayne allowed to make sarcastic digs at the opposition when addressing retailers or readers at conventions.

In the recent DC Editorial section, the words "no animals were injured in the making of this column (Let's see if our competitors can make the same claim)" appeared.

It's a tiny thing. A very tiny thing. But is it the start of DC actually addressing they actually have a competition again? Or is it just a slip up…

And get that DiDio Headshot. Looks alarmingly like Bill Jemas' one…

MILO BLOW

[Green Light]The Milo Manara/Chris Claremont X-Men book announced by Panini earlier in the week garnered strong reactions. I've been saying Marvel should get Manara for the Xbooks for ages - a perfect fit.

Not everyone was as sure. On the Newsarama boards, Alias publisher Mike Miller posted, "Minara is a pornographer. Anyone who just 'googled' him knows that, why is it being kept so quiet on this thread?

"I used to read his stuff. Excellent artist, but I wonder what sense it makes to put him on a book that is supposedly all-ages? What if a kid falls in love with his artwork and GOOGLES him?"

It's a good point. Almost as good as if any kid googled for Cindy Margolis, credited cover model for "The Tenth Muse," as published by... come on, work with me people...

TEEN COVER - Updated 2:00 PM PDT

[Green Light]"Teen Titans" #34 comes out soon. The cover used for promotion has always been this:

Robin in the middle with everyone in the background covered in shadows. Could the "One Year Later" team change that much?

Yes. Midtown Comics listed both. Click here for the spoilered reality...

And could the cover of #36 reveal the new Brotherhood Of Evil?

And a third Titan/Superboy OYL spoilery cover... possibly...

PAT'S SPACE

[Yellow Light]Pat Lee's on MySpace everyone. He gives the following advice:

"1. Never give up on your dreams even when you've been kicked down to the lowest level possible.

"2. Always put a little money aside in case of a rainy day.

"3. True friends are people who will be there for you when you are at your lowest.

"4. Whenever you fall down, use your anger in a positive light and take revenge by being successful at what you want.

"5. Take pride in trying. If you don't get what you want, just laugh it off and try again. Check out our new company website, we just launched it! Seeya!"

Feel free to make your own jokes. And check out Pat's friends. I wonder if I can be one?

PRINT AND BE DAMNED

[Green Light]"From Hell" is going back to print. There have been some serious problems with the volume, including Preney, a printer who took a large advance and then went bankrupt. Preney used to publish "Cerebus," but since that book finished, found itself in financial straits. If you want to buy a printer you can pick one up, including whatever is left on their shelves, right here.

Preney was a small family run Canadian printer and one that also hadn't kept up with the times. "From Hell" was printed from film, rather than digital files, and Top Shelf had a real problem, not only with the financial hit, but finding another printer to accept negatives.

Thankfully, Eddie Campbell made hi-res photostats of all the original art before selling it, so they've been able to scan from those to create new digital masters.

But people wanting Cerebus trades, might be an idea to buy them now, before a similar, harder to rectify situation happens.

CHAOS AT CHAOS

[Yellow Light]Whatever happened to Chaos? I fielded a couple of enquiries concerning the relaunch of the line through Devil's Due. "Purgatori" was meant to be monthly, but with no Previews listing for three months and no sign of the other titles, the people involved seemed to have gone dark on the situation.

I understand that the books will be released, though not from Devil's Due. Chaos Comics is starting up again in its own right, with solicitations expected by the autumn, in order to prevent any further delays.

But don't feel sad about Devil's Due. Initial orders for their "Family Guy" series have topped 40,000, with heavy reordering expected.

"NO MORE NIKE"

[Green Light]Check "Uncanny X-Men" #471, story page 12, panel 4.

See that logo on the kid's purple t-shirt? It's for a brand new Nike sneaker, that's been appearing in full-page ads in Marvel books as well. It's been appearing on T-shirts on various young characters throughout Marvel titles for months now.

Has to be a product placement deal. Gotta catch them all... anyone got a scanner? Prize for finding the most!

Not necessarily a big prize. Or indeed any prize.

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]An interesting exchange has been occurring on the forums at Hudlin Entertainment, the website for comedy and comics writer Reginald Hudlin. What started as a sort of flame war with the male fans of "Black Panther" versus the mostly female fans of "Storm," has become an interesting read on race and gender in how Storm's fans see the impending marriage being handled versus how the Panther's fans perceive its implementation. Read more in Panther & Storm: Forced Of Fantasy? Reginald enters the fray a few times to fan the flames... and to admit he loved "Warriors Of Plasm."

Over on the ComicBloc forums-- Kurt Busiek vs ManOfTheAtom. Back and forth, back and forth. For thirty-seven pages and counting.

Grant Morrison on the first issue of "Seaguy Volume 2" that never was and the future of "Invisibles."

Susannah Clarke, author of "Jonathan Strange," wants to write comics. Marvel, DC, get to it! And while you're at it, try Jodi Picoult's "Tenth Circle." I got my comp copy of that this week. I am now an official fictional character within its pages... and I'm not alone in the industry...

And Event Horizon, the original graphic anthology that's published my serialised "Chase Variant" work, has just won the Sci-Fi Award - Best Graphic Novel. The first book is sold out, the second available with this handy code passed to your retailer - SEPT053014

Bristol. Well, it wouldn't be a modern comics convention without some sort of cultural city clash. In this case, it's a major football match, so all the hotels got booked up sharpish. Neverless, Comics Expo at Bristol is on May 13th/14th at the British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall coupled with talks at the Ramada Plaza Hotel. Details here. Lots of guests, companies looking for creators/illustrators, the best networking bars in comics. I'll be seeing you there. Accomodation willing, of course.

Anyone got a spare floor?

SMALL PRINT

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 1350982 from the UK or 01144780 1350982 from the US.

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