Lying In The Gutters

Mon, June 4th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 107

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.

HEROES FOR HURTING

[Green Light]All that fuss about the cover to "Heroes For Hire" #13?

I wonder what they'll make of this rather aggressive yaoi cover?

I wonder what he's thinking.

ALL THAT GLITTERS

[Yellow Light]There has been quite a commotion of late on the Comics-L message board. A number of people who commissioned sketches from Michael Golden when the opportunity was made available by his representative and Marvel Bullpenner of legend, Renee Witterstaetter, have been complaining that they haven't yet received the commission piece and that have to chase to get information about delays. And that they have been refused a refund.

Individuals who have made a fuss have been told that their commission has been placed at the top of the pile - but with the same language being used for a number of people, some people wonder how can more than one item be at the top?

Renee tells me that there were never any firm dates given, but I have seen emails she has sent that suggest otherwise, giving a clear indication of the maximum time such a work would take, as well as subsequent emails offering new schedules, all blown.

Renee states, "These comments were essentially started by one person who I gave a special rate to because I had known them from conventions for some time and liked him a person. As such, I am a little dismayed that they would now take issue with having to wait until an artist finishes regular assignments before doing commissions. That is standard. Most of the current comments are from this person and two friends, and it saddens me.

"As the person who takes the commissions, I pass the information on to Michael. Michael gives me estimates of when pieces will be done, but they are only estimates. I do know that he has steadily been sending out many commissions and is continuing to do so. So many people were excited about his return to the convention circuit, and the large number are more than happy to wait on their piece, since before this, they never had an opportunity to get one at all.

"As always, I have stayed in contact with anyone who has guestions or needs updates, and I think in the future I won't give estimates on a time of arrival, even though, as stated, nobody is going to wait that long. If someone is willing to give Michael the time to do a good job, then please sign up with us. If you don't want to wait, then we totally understand, and we don't seek those commissions.

"Michael is very professional and will always deliver. Bottom line. If someone wants a commission, we welcome them - for as long as Michael is doing commissions. He likes doing them for people who appreciate his work and want them for their personal collections. But please be aware that timelines are always contingent on schedules. Otherwise, we totally understand if you don't want a commission, and wouldn't force anyone to sign up for one. Contact me at: evaink@aol.com"

While some are more vocal than others, the message board shows complainers in double figures. When commissioning such work, everyone knows that time may not be fixed, such artists have other commitments and that schedules can stretch. Indeed, there are a number of artists who will regularly stretch commissions in three, four, five, six years even - but then people probably accept the possible open ended nature of that going in. But when two months turns into nine, communication is poor and refunds are not available - it may be time to stop taking on new commissions.

I understand that some individuals are considering taking legal action.

ONCE BYRNED

[Yellow Light]A while ago, John Byrne talked about an idea he'd had with Howard Mackie to "reset" Spider-Man continuity. First they would have put Peter Parker through the worst of it, until he considers ending it all. At that point, he'd find himself on the bridge where Gwen Stacy died, offering his soul if the clock could have been turned back to simpler times. At which point the Shaper Of Worlds does just that, remaking Spider-Man's world to when he was back in High School, but with the current book's supporting cast, taking place in the modern day. Eventually confronting the Shaper, he discovers nothing can be changed, and his memories of the old world slowly fade away. The team decided though that this kind of event would be too "cosmic" for Spider-Man, who has a "street level" tone.

Well, while Byrne may be out of favour at Marvel (or vice versa), his ideas may still see the light of day. Coincidence of course, these things usually are - google "ideaspace" for further discussion. That is all for now.

FINAL RESPONSE

[Green Light]As to last week's rumour that Kurt Busiek will be writing the "Final

Crisis" project for DC Comics, Kurt posted at

href="http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23294&page=187">ComicBloc.

And if he'd have emailed me that when I emailed Kurt for comment, I'd

have printed it with the original article.

SUGA SWEET, BY ANY OTHER NAME

[Green Light]Natalie Sandells (a rather wonderful comic artist who will one day draw "Dragon Empire," a space opera comic sitting in my Writing folder) recently promoted her decade-in-the-making graphic novel "Sanguisuga" in her LiveJournal which I frequently check out (if only to see if she's started any more "Dragon Empire." Below the congratulations, one Christi-Anne posted "Please be informed and thus well advised that as of May 17th 2004 (my application for copyright received February 09th 2004), I ~ Christi-Anne am the solitary owner of "SanguiSuga" as it is the copyrighted title of my gothic novel (registration # TXu1 -181-549) with the library of congress and was published by PublishAmerica (ISBN: 1-4137-2739-5) that same year. I am also the solitary owner of www.sanguisuga.com.

"I ask that you change the title of your yet to be published/self published work or else I and my publishing house will be forced to take more drastic and legal measures."

Well, the website is certainly entertaining, but you can't copyright a title. You can trademark one, but that involves maintaining that trademark. A quick wikicheck on PublishAmerica gives the impression they may have their own legal issues...

THE FINAL BATTLE

[Green Light]Can't believe I forgot this one. Just came across a note.

When asked at Bristol who would win in a fight between Agent 355 from "Y The Last Man" and the dinosaur Old Lace from "Runaways," Brian K. Vaughan replied, "It would be a draw. And then they would make out."

SELF SERVING PLUG

[Green Light]On Wednesday/Thursday, the trading card set I wrote for IDW, "George W Bush And The Weapons Of Mass Distraction" come out. Any journos who fancy an easy story about the outsourcing of US satire, get in touch.

SMALL PRINT

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.

Oh and I'm starting to Twitter now as well now.

And Facebook.

And my Wii number is 0512 2690 8446 2879

Sorry.

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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