Lying In The Gutters

Mon, March 12th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 95

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.

I HARDLY KNEW YOU

[Green Light]I first met Arnold Drake a couple of weeks ago at the New York Comic Con. He seemed frail, but hearty. I bought a Little Lulu sketch from him. We discussed his Doom Patrol and he told me that he believed only Grant Morrison ever saw in the team what he was trying to do. He was thrilled at the upcoming film version of his Deadman character and was planning on going to the premiere. And he told me how he was fascinated by the comic convention scene, and felt it legitimatized the beliefs he'd held a lifetime.

Arnold Drake passed away earlier today, from pneumonia and septic shock. My condolences to his families and friends.

I get the feeling he'll still make it to that premiere.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

[Green Light]Yes, yes, yes, Captain America #25. Look, I told you how this was all going to play out back in January. And I also told you it was going to get a lot of press attention. Not my fault if you didn't listen.

Marvel contacted retailers through Diamond and the Comic Book Industry Alliance Forum to tell them that they hadn't ordered enough and to up their order weeks ago, in a way they hadn't since "Civil War" #2 and the Spider-Man unmasking. Some did by three times, some by six. Most of them sold out, but not all. The response on the CBIA was visible, especially following the discussion between retailers there. If you're a retailer who hasn't joined the CBIA, this is why it's a really good idea to.

As to those who insist that retailers should have been told the full details and that the story wouldn't have leaked, Marvel sent out a message to Diamond accounts stating there would be a second print of "Captain America" #25, but not to tell the people just yet. Three minutes later, Newsarama was on the phone to Marvel after receiving emails from retailers, and Wizard Universe had it listed for puchase on their site (together with a mocked up cover). If that had happened with the first print, there wouldn't have been the media coverage at the moment of purchase that Marvel achieved.

What I did find quite funny was that on the back of the comic in question, in which the USA's most loved soldier hero gets shot and dies, there's a big ad for the US Army.

Not sure if that's completely on message. Mind you, the inside back cover has an Old Spice ad that blatantly alludes to fellatio, so who knows. Don't ask, don't tell.

And it's interesting to see the reaction from "normal" people who, you know, don't actually read comics or anything, let alone this one.

As many retailers saw huge sellouts there's also some concern as to whether the Chinese walls over at Wizard are secure enough. Obviously Wizard, The Magazine had to know about the death of Captain America, it has a six week lead, articles to run, and a Captain America Memorial special to set up. But its retail arm, Wizard Universe, should not have been told about the upcoming story, just like other retailers were not told. Yet Wizard Universe seemed very ready to sell the issue at a markup, including CGC copies, had bought relevant Google Adwords and seemed to order just the right amount. Wizard representatives declined to respond to questions sent today.

But not to worry. I understand that Diamond have ordered an extra 100,000 copies, the entire order has been filled from Marvel's overprint and the issues are coming through the Memphis warehouse for Tuesday/Wednesday.

So, the person who paid $202.50 for both covers, or $112.50 for just one might possibly regret it.

You bought copies for speculation purposes? Sell them. Sell them now. To idiots who don't read LITG. Use the 24 hour option on eBay. Before you can't give copies away. I did.

And for the wider picture, Todd Allen on why "Captain America" #25 proves the direct market is broken...

Of couse, as Ms. Marvel tells us in "Civil War: The Initiative" published by Marvel the very same day, he's alive and well. Shame none of the news outlets noticed that but "Captain America alive and well on a helicarrier" probably wouldn't have had the same news momentum...

Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada explains it away here, but I don't see his explanation corroborated by the comic in question.

Say, did anyone notice the Lewis "Scooter" Libby guilty verdict was announced on the same day the Captain America news broke? Is it part of an ever bigger cover up???

BLACK COVERS

[Green Light]We have the covers to the #0 issue of "Black Summer" by Warren Ellis and Jose Juan Ryp, shipping in June. 16 pages, in the Fell format, it's half the price at 99c. Regular monthly issues will be at $2.99.

Avatar describes the book: "This summer, the world goes black as Warren Ellis unveils his all-new super-powered heroes and villains epic that promises to be the biggest event of 2007! With art by the genius Juan Jose Ryp, no fan of The Authority or Wanted will want to miss this bleeding-edge eight issue masterpiece. This #0 features an original story that leads directly into the full-size monthly series that starts in August priced at just $2.99 per issue! When the political situation in the USA becomes more than Horus can stand, he moves to take matters into his own hands. But since not all his other team-mates aren't so eager to throw the world into chaos, an epic conflict starts to form. And no one will be safe as the bodies start to fall. The event-launching issue is available with a regular or wraparound cover and also a rare 1-in-25 cover featuring the Horus design sketch, all by series artist Juan Jose Ryp."

FIRST BLOOD

[Green Light]Is this Rambo? Or Brian Bendis, Camp Counsellor!

HOW TO GET WORK IN COMICS

[Green Light]At the "How To Break Into Comics" panel at NYCC, CB Cebulski stressed the importance of internet message boards.

On one thread, about Doctor Who comics, Pia Guerra posted that she loves to draw the character, and posted some sketches. "Doctor Who" comic writer Tony Lee spotted this and passed them onto the book's editors.

And that's how it's done.

VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO GEEK

[Yellow Light]Fanboy Radio founders Scott Hinze and Oliver Tull are set to be multi-millionaires with the launch of Fanboy TV, produced by Lankford Media Group.

Dammit. I knew I should have done Lying In The Gutters as a TV show...

SWIPE FILE

"Green Lantern" #70 by Gil Kane

"Green Lantern" #1000000 by Bryan Hitch

Francisco V Coching, 1951

Al Williamson, 1980

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]Alan Moore is making two interesting appearances in the next couple of months. First, with Coldcut and Mixmaster Morris, in a tribute to Robert Anton Wilson on March 18th, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London at 7.45pm, tickets £12.50

And then secondly (thanks to Film Ick) as part of the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery's forthcoming exhibition on superstition, Unlucky For Some, discussing "Magical Northampton" on Saturday from from 2pm until 4pm, April 14th. Just £2, that one.

For those "Peep Show"/"Spaced"/"Party Animals" fans amongst you... Magicians...

SMALL PRINT

My eBay sales are reaching a peak right now, discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.

Visit my MySpace or my ComicSpace as I discuss next week's column. Maybe.

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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