Lying In The Gutters

Mon, November 13th, 2006 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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.

THAT WAS THE WEEKLY THAT WAS

[Yellow Light]With DC planning a weekly/bi-weekly followup to "52," I also understand that Marvel are also intending to launch a weekly comic book.

With the recent hire of Steve Wacker from working on DC's "52" (and the story of that departure will fill a whole Lying In The Gutters one day), is there a possible tie up there?

OMEGA FLIT

[Green Light]A brief, non-spoilery glimpse at how "Omega Flight" from Marvel is looking...

DECLASSIFIED. A BIT.

[Green Light]A few people have commented that Marvel's solicitation leave, well, a lot to the imagination. Most of the "Civil War" tie-ins have a CLASSIFIED notion instead of what actually happens in the comic. Which may all be well and good to keep the fans in suspense, but does bugger all for the retailers who have to order the damn things blind.

Over on the CBIA retailer forum, Marvel's David Gabriel gave a little more information.

"The issues follow directly from Civil War...there's little stop really...hence the reason that they could only come out after certain pieces of Civil War were told.

"Cap should be the best selling issue of the series yet....IMHO

"Iron Man will definitely rank up there as well.

"FF and Spider-Man will also be directly tied up in Civil War aftermath...

"as well as Black Panther and a slew of other books....

"Believe it or not, wait and see...but there'll be changes a plenty....

"and you should order accordingly!"

So there you have it!

COWBOYS

[Yellow Light]When "Flying Friar" and "Civil Wardrobe" came out, I encouraged a couple of London shops to stock the titles in depth. And copies left over after a couple of months, I'd buy back at cost, and it was an easy way to send people in their direction to buy a copy, knowing they'd have it in stock. And in the end, I didn't need to buy a single copy back. Probably made up for 5% of the whole orders to boot.

Well, I understand that a small number of major comic shops are part of an advertising co-op plan with Platinum Studios, published through Image. Retailers are encouraged through generous incentives to order a very large number of copies of the "Cowboys & Aliens" graphic novel indeed. And a total Diamond preorder of around 15,000 copies.

Which is very handy, since Platinum are doing a national media campaign including mobiles, their new media group and other areas and retailer promotion.

But given that you only need to sell a few thousand trade paperbacks to get it near the top of the Diamond chart, this could be a relatively inexpensive way to get the book at the top of the charts, encourage future sales and maybe just inject a bit of voomph into multi-media interest with some PR when it makes the number one book of the month.

Bloody well wish I'd thought of it first.

THEY CYCLE AMONG US

[Green Light]Jon Browne, who runs the "They Walk Among Us" comic shop in Richmond (and where Simon Pegg worked in "Spaced") is raising money for Diabetes UK with a sponsored bike ride up the Mekong. Jon himself is insulin dependent, and this is a charity drive he's been preparing for some time.

His online sponsorship form is here, or you could pop in and sign the form in the shop. He's very close to his target level of £2500 and I hope this mention can help push him over the top.

Last week, I liked to Chris Chiang's New York marathon run for the Christopher Reeve foundation, and listed some of the comic industry names who'd made a donation.

And while there are a bunch more there now, it turns out "John Byrne" was just someone using a pseudonym. Apologies for any embarrassment caused.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS WONDER WOMAN?

[Yellow Light]Okay, a late comic book written by a writer known for Hollywood isn't the biggest shock story. But when the writer's contract gives him strong creative control of the book, and the people over on "52" don't know what the plan is for Wonder Woman so they can't tease plans with "52," or have Donna Troy take up the mantle for the period of the book... well, you can see why some people might get annoyed and start moaning in bars.

BECAUSE TRUE ANARCHY IS EVERYONE DRESSING UP IN THE SAME UNIFORM

[Green Light]Remember, remember the 14th of November

Because that's when a rally on Government is taking place, all with people dressed as "V" from "V For Vendetta," using that Halloween costume, this column reported on a couple of weeks ago. You can sign up here. I wonder how much Warners cortporate make from each costume?

Watch this dry run as V comes up against the agents of the state, who find him amusing and humour him. Let's see what happens this week when there's... ooh... at least twelve of him!

It would be terrible if this got much more publicity than it deserved, wouldn't it?

DIXON'S VERSE

[Yellow Light]After last week's article on Rick Olney's TightLip Entertainment publisher allegedly not paying certain creators, I received a number of messages reporting similar problems.

While most did not wish to speak on the record, Chuck Dixon, famed for his Batman and Punisher work, but also writer for "Tales Of The Spooky" from TightLip, decided to do just that. He wrote:

"I never signed a non-disclosure agreement and I can attest that I haven't been paid for my work for Tightlip and know of more than a half dozen others who haven't received Dime One. Rick has offered excuses in lieu of payment going on to five months now. I wouldn't be saying anything to you but his new round of defences are demonstrably false

"No payment issues that haven't 'been worked out to the mutual satisfaction of both parties' - this is simply not the case. We were told we'd be paid and we haven't been. About as mutually satisfying as a cannibal buffet.

"Olney cited production delays due to business and personal reasons, but that no one contacted about this has expressed problems - no problems expressed beyond, 'Where the hell's my money?' No response to this beyond a kind of 'You're harshin' my buzz' reply."

This column contacted Rick Olney for further comment. Olney told me that he maintained his earlier assertions and added, "TightLip Entertainment never enters into a contractual agreement without a non-disclosure agreement with its freelance talent. Thusly, and taking in to consideration that Dave Lanphear, TLE's creative director assures me that he has (in TLE's interest) Mr. Dixon's NDA on file, it would appear to me, from TLE's position that Mr. Dixon has always had certain rights. And that the initial step was contacting either myself or Mr. Lanphear is expressing his concerns. Why he chose to possibly break his NDA remains to be known.

"'Tales of The Spooky' #1 is beyond its deadline for 2006 and will be published in 2007, but not before any/all creators left awaiting compensation have been duly compensated.

"Also, TLE has conducted its business practices with just as much care and concern, using professional guidelines and considerations as the larger publishers of comic books and other sequentially art driven periodical publishers. Why should Mr. Dixon treat us with any less regard?"

Any more for any more?

A CANADIAN CRITIQUE

[Green Light]This is the full Canadian Customs reply over the importation of Lost Girls into Canada.

Is it just me or are there a few lines there that Top Shelf could pull for review publicity?

"An intricate, imaginative and artfully rendered storyline." - Shawn Ewart, Canadian Customs

And here are a few books that Canadian Customs have restricted.

HUDLIN TOGETHER

[Green Light]Reginald Hudlin has not been shy in coming forward to defend his run on "Black Panther" from all comers. But even a big man like Reginald needs some help.

Take 'muddy Boots' posting here and 'these boots are made for stompin' over here.

Both defending Reginald , both posting very shortly after Reginald… and both with the same IP address as Reginald .

Ow.

I contacted Mr Hudlin, who told me, "I broke my own rule! Since I started writing 'Panther' I never posted under any name but my own, but then I realized I was feeding trolls who wanted a rise out of the author of the book - so I stopped. Then I got pissed (especially at some of the race baiting comments) so I started up again undercover. So now it's Watergate."

Well, Reginald, at least your book's on time.

You know, is it just me or is Mr. Hudlin the only black writer at Marvel, DC, Image or Dark Horse with an ongoing series right now? Dwayne McDuffie's "Fantastic Four" can't arrive soon enough.

That can't be right.

MOTHER FLICKERS

[Yellow Light]"Flick" used to be one of those words that comics publishers shied away from if they could. The capital L and I used to run together so easily. And so anyone called Clint Flicker would be guaranteed to be thrown to the gutter.

The "Nextwave" cover promoted recently with a cutoff sign saying "Mark Millar licks goats" was certainly a nod in that direction. But issue #25 of "52" also went in that direction with a reduced-size font - check the second speech balloon in the second panel of this page towards the end:

Yeah, I much prefer a high budget one.

SWIPE FILES

[Yellow Light]The artwork of Milo Manara

The artwork of David Finch

No? Okay, on the right in colour, "Annihilation: Silver Surfer" #1 by Renato Arlem. On the left in black and white, John Buscema's Silver Surfer from issues #4 to #12.

And remember kids, swiping from a company-owned book when you're doing work for the same company is without... legal... impact! And if it's well known enough... it's an homage!

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]Apparently, I'm one of the World's Most Stalked Male Celebrities. I really shouldn't put my street address at the end of these things, should I?

Doctor Really Rather Strange.

Look! You missed bidding on this!

This is how Eve is looking these days, by the way.

(photo by Ade Brown)

And a few people, based on last week's e-mails, expressed doubt that Ben could ever allow himself to be in any situation that might compromise his integrity. Well, taken in Soho House, Ben is the man expressing that self same doubt.

(photo by Ben Templesmith)

"Spider-Man 3" dissected.

Hilarious Superman image - his foot looks like a penis. Hilarious, like I just said. Hilarious.

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