Lying In The Gutters

Mon, April 30th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 102

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 thirteen 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.

WILDSTORM WORKS

[Yellow Light]Keith Giffen, writer of "Heckler," "Ambush Bug" and "I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League" is writing an arc on "Midnighter" with Chris Sprouse ("Tom Strong") on art.

And sadly after JM DeMatteis finishes his short run on "Wetworks," the title will be cancelled.

A PALPABLE HITMAN

[Yellow Light]I hear word that there is a brand new Hitman mini-series, naturally written by Garth Ennis and drawn by John McCrea, currently in production.

ANOTHER PAT LEE STORY

[Yellow Light]A few months ago, "Lying In the Gutters" covered the Alex Milne-Pat Lee story - that Alex Milne, originally credited as Lee's background assistant on Top Cow's "Cyberforce," was not only fulfilling far more of the artwork than that credit would suggest, but that his credit was being dropped and Milne's payment from Lee was significantly less than his contribution to the final artwork's price. Showing the artwork in question, it seemed an open and shut case.

Indeed, here are a few more examples, unseen until now.

But the problem has been exacerbated by Lee not even paying Milne for that small percentage on a number of projects.

Milne initially worked on Cyberforce to free up Pat Lee's time to work on "Superman/Batman." Yet I understand in the time it took Milne to create 64 pages of highly detailed backgrounds and character layouts for "Cyberforce," including all work involving robots, spaceships and high technology (of which there was plenty), Lee had only completed ten pages of "Superman/Batman" #34. So Lee outsourced work to Milne uncredited on that book as well, creating backgrounds for a further 8 pages, for a lesser fee, as Lee told Milne that DC paid less that Top Cow.

Hmm.

It was only eight pages, because after the eighth page, the comics community became aware of the true nature of both Milne and Lee's work on "Cyberforce," where the balance of work lay and the disparity of payment. Lee tried to persuade Milne to write a letter to Top Cow stating that he hadn't worked on the book, but Milne didn't reply. It was at that point that Lee cut off communication between the two of them and has not paid Milne even the small percentage for his completed and published work since - 8 pages of "Superman/Batman," 18 pages of "Cyberforce," two pages for the "Cyberforce" TPB and for the cover of "X-Men/Cyberforce."

Here's an example from "Superman/Batman."

I understand Milne has tried to contact DC to help rectify this situation, specifically editor Eddie Berganza, but has not received a reply.

I also understand DC Comics recently offered Pat Lee a "Red Tornado" series.

THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW

[Green Light]On Keith Giffen's Wizarduniverse column, he writes about the appearance by Zatarra (one of the "One Year" Teen Titans) in "52":

"30) As a goof, in the breakdowns, I drew that new Zatarra kid in Zatanna's

fishnets-and-corset getup. The penciler actually drew him that way. My pleas

to let it go through like that went unheeded.'

NOTE: Zatarra also appears to be wearing high heels in one page…

BURNING BRIGHT

[Green Light]It's Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. And I don't know about you, but I think an awful lot of people are going to want that Spider-Man title…

Why not pick up back issues of the "New Avengers: Illuminati" mini-series #1 while you're at it…

WISDOM AND BAD LANGUAGE

[Yellow Light]Now we all know that Amazion's not totally exact when it comes to future comics, but does anyone think that this repackage of Paul Cornell and Trevor Hairsine's MAX mini-series "Wisdom," as "X-Men: Rudiments Of Wisdom" will necessitate a few cuts to the content? Writer Cornell hasn't heard about any such plan (though he says he wouldn't mind), but it does look that way from the title, doesn't it?

UPDATE: Paul Cornell says that his editor has told him it's not true. So don't worry Wisdom fans, this is merely an Amazon hiccup and you will have your fairy nipples!

ALL THAT GLISTERS

[Green Light]Andi Watson's new book, "Glister," from Image this August. It's a 64 page digest sized bi-monthly starring Glister Butterworth, in self-contained stories. All-ages, black and white and #1 has a new Skeleton Key back-up story. More at Bristol.

Pages...

AWAY LEG

[Green Light]Bryan Talbot has returned from his US tour promoting "Alice In Sunderland," a book which challenges the orthodox origins of the Alice books, as well as exploring the history of Sunderland and those around it.

On a visit to Jim Hanley's Universe in New York, the signing was almost postponed due to an attempted suicide jumper, whose plummet to the sidewalk was halted by a ledge. However, not all of him was halted...A single leg hit the pavement, thankfully managing to miss any comic fans and not damaging any of their mint edition "All Star Superman" #7s.

Talbot has a number of projects in the work. He's looking for a publisher for a new graphic novel he's starting work on, he's got a prose book collecting comic industry gossip and anecdotes called "The Naked Artist" out shortly and a new series he's written for UK mega-star artist and in-house cartoonist of London's Cartoon Museum, Mark Stafford. It's called "Cherubs," it's from Desperado and I'd recommend everyone asks their shop to get them in a copy of this four part bi-monthly series.

Stafford's work is incredible, though mostly unknown in the US, and has been compared to the likes of Kyle Baker, Evan Dorkin, Hunt Emerson and Bob Fingerman. Indeed, I attribute the complete sell-out of "Civil Wardrobe" to his wonderful cover.

SWIPE FILE

[Yellow Light]"Paul Jenkins' Sidekick" (of Desperado and now 12 Gauge, first published June 2006)

"Sidekickin'" (of Viper Comics, first published May 2007)

That's good enough for lawyer interest!

KILLER VISION

[Green Light]A project in search of a publisher: a post-Word War II-set title called "The Killers" by Frank Tra and Eric Z. A band of Nazis refuse to stop the fighting and have embarked on a killing spree across the German countryside. It is up to a group of war-worn American soldiers to stop them.

Any interested parties, get in touch!

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]Regarding last week's Bits & Pieces on a trade collection for Neil Gaiman's "Lady Justice," Steve Roman writes, "I'm pretty sure that iBooks, inc. solicitation is a mistake, unless the new owner - who isn't all that familiar with graphic novel publishing - is putting it together. The deal with Tekno*Books (the license owner) began to lapse even before Byron Preiss's death in 2005; his death put a certain end to it. I don't even think he finalized the reprint deal with them before he died.

"How do I know this? Byron hired me to write an all-new 8-page story (the only new material the book would have contained), with art by Lou Harrison. But when he realized the orders wouldn't really be there - it's hard to sell a Neil Gaiman book that Gaiman never actually wrote - he told us not to bother with the story. The script, however, had already been completed."

Joshua Middleton stated that he's working on new projects. Looks like they may well be from Soliel...

Film Ick script review the "WE3" and "Wolverine" films.

Kurtz goes with racial epithets...

And what happens when a writer needs some urgent cash.

Go here for the Jonathan Ross "In Search Of Steve Ditko" TV show announcement...

SMALL PRINT

As always, I've got all sorts of fun stuff selling on eBay right now, you 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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