Lying In The Gutters

Mon, August 13th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 117

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.

But first, CAPTION 2007 in glorious BrendonColor video...

JOE'S SHOW

[Green Light]Last Tuesday, Joe Quesada held court in London. One pub in London's West End has rapidly become a bit of a comics bar of late. It's handy for the tube, it's easy to find… and it's opposite a comic shop. I recommended it to Mark Millar when he had his to do the other month when he was down. So what better place to go when Joe Quesada wants to meet the UK comics scene for a night?

That is until Mark Millar gave Marvel the details, since he was coming down, too. And got the wrong ones, for a different, smaller, pub with the same name in Chinatown a few blocks away.

So half of the crowd get invited to one place, half to another, and people scurrying all over the place.

Lovely evening out, everything off the record, and with Chris Weston, Paul Cornell, Robbie Morrison, Natalie Sandells (with her new "Carson City" pages), Jamie McKelvie, David Hine, Tony Lee, Laurence Campbell (showing some absolutely stunning Punisher work), a table full of Titan and Forbidden Planet, it became a kind of a mini-San Diego for those who couldn't make the West Coast. And a little breather for some before the dead zone that is Chicago.

Si Spurrier turned up purely by chance, having arrived on his brother In law's stag night, saw Joe was there and, realising he was too drunk to speak to him, decided to hide. Cue every creator there trying to get him to meet Joe, and Cue Si running and hiding around the bar every time someone near Joe would try to introduce them...

Lots of glass-shaped fun bought, the most disgusting stories shared and everyone working out how they were going to get their copies of "League Of Extraordinary Gentleman: The Black Dossier."

Especially the people at Titan Books.

POWER JANE - Updated 8/16 2:35 PM PDT

[Green Light]Overhead at Chicago - the creative team on DC's upcoming "Power Girl" may seem familiar. It's the same team behind Dynamite's Painkiller Jane series, Jimmy Palmiotti and Lee Moder.

How long till the crossover?

UPDATE: It's not Lee Moder.

RELATED TISSUES

[Green Light]There has been quite the fallout since last week's column broke the "League" story. DC responded releasing what must be their shortest press release ever, citing international copyright issues and "related issues" as to the book's limited distribution to the USA only.

There can be no more legal issues outside the USA than there were in the first two League volumes, which featured extensive characters from the library of HG Welles and others, out of copyright in the US but still in copyright in much of the rest of the world.

And there are plenty of other works that have taken classical in copyright characters and used them to their own ends without legal issues. "League's" reinterpretation and recontextualisation is both an artistic and legal defence.

In the recent Tripwire Annual, Alan Moore mentions that he is unsure if the solicited Tijuana Bible section will be published. May there be some customs considerations regarding this section?

Jess Nevins, author of "League" commentary works, wrote on the DC message boards "There's a lot more going on here than you know about…"

I understand that a number of UK shops have already been arranging their own personal deliveries for customers, and that international orders for the standard hardcover and next year's Absolute edition at Amazon.com have been rapidly rising.

LIES, DAMN LIES, STATISTICS AND BRITISH COMICS CREATORS

[Green Light]Mark Millar said that no one guessed his and Hitch's big Marvel project would be "Fantastic Four."

That's a lie. Pretty much everyone guessed it. It was obvious, from the moment Joss Whedon asked Hitch "Now you're going from the ultra-modern to the possibly least-edgy characters in the Marvel 'verse."

It was only Bryan Hitch saying, "From the Civil War stuff and current issues, I'd say FF is pretty edgy these days. Besides, I've always thought I'd be a poor fit for the Fantastic Four; too many greats in it's history. Lest edgy in the MU? Millie the Model" and then "Okay, how about I just TELL you I'm not doing FF Would that be more specific?" that made people doubt it.

Some people are up in arms about being lied to, which is ridiculous. These are creators of fiction, they lie all the time. That's what they're paid to do. Admittedly, Mark has an industry reputation of bending the truth, but it all stems from the same desire and ability to create fiction and to tell the best story.

Talking of which, Tony Harris and Mark Millar are doing an Image project called "War Heroes." Mark was meant to announce it at Chicago. It's possible he may have not…

MIKE ALLRED EXPLODES

[Yellow Light]I love it when a comic creator goes nuclear. Mike was asked about the pros and cons of going exclusive and his reply took in the whole comics industry and its recent history…

It destroyed Capitol Distribution, Diamond's main competitor, and signalled the end of competitive distribution in the comic book biz.

It's not Diamond's job to level the playing field. It's Diamond's job to look out for Diamond and do what's best for Diamond.

But the possibility of DC publishing Madman was raised and I got stirred up. After the "DI" experience, I was ready to say goodbye to X-Statix and when I asked for details on bringing Madman into the deal at DC it appeared that the deal no longer existed at all.

I've since heard from a few people that DC was throwing exclusive deals out like candy at a parade just to see who would run for it. And then would pick and choose among the eager.

Dan Didio had done me wrong on at least two occasions, including flat out "PROMISING" to me about "re-soliciting and releasing the TEEN TITANS special in a few months", and canceling the METAL MEN book Evan Dorkin and I were doing after "not liking" the first issue we completed. I still don't know the full truth about both of those situations

"Why won't DD keep his word and release it! I go nuts just thinking about it! I don't dare accept any invites to New York for fear I'll lose it and go all "Bourne" in the DC offices until I get my hands around a certain executive's throat"

Yeah, um, sorry about that whole "X-Statix" thing, Mike.

MADSEN'S MAD SIGNING - Updated 8/14/07 3:15 PM PDT

[Yellow Light]At San Diego, I understand there was a slight disagreement between Fangoria Studios and Paul Jenkins over the rights Michael Madsen's signing hand.

I know, I know, I pictured the both of them taking a few fingers each and pulling, waiting for Solomon to turn up.

It seems that Paul Jenkins had lined up Madsen to sign as an incentive to attend his promotional panel for "Tatua" at SDCC. While Madsen was also appearing at SDCC as an exclusive signee for Fangoria.

Which led to a Fangoria representative turning up at the panel, loudly expressing her annoyance and to pull Madsen fans out of the line, promising and delivering free signed Madsen lithographs.

Thankfully it all got sorted out, which was handy as Jenkins was playing pool for the Hero Initiative charity, next to Fangoria's booth at Chicago.

UPDATE: Troy Brownfield of Fangoria Comics writes, "There was no real disagreement between Fangoria COMICS (the studios are separate and were not in San Diego) and Paul Jenkins. Madsen was never officially scheduled for the Tatua panel or signing. He was always the exclusive guest of Fangoria Comics, where he co-created "Shifter". When Madsen's name was presented in the story about the panel on Newsarama, Fangoria asked that the story be corrected and it was; Madsen's name was removed. Unfortunately, his name was still listed in the San Diego program for the other panel. To our knowledge at Fangoria Comics, he was never official for them. He was always our exclusive guest, as he was in Chicago.

"A woman who had been standing in line at Tatua saw that there was no Madsen and actually wandered over to me personally and asked where he was, since I was standing in the aisle doing the carnvial barker bit for his signing. I said, "Michael is right here at the Wizard booth." She said, "Wasn't he supposed to be over there?" I said, "No, he was actually always with Fangoria." She said, "Well we went to the panel and then down here and we've been waiting two hours."

"I discussed this information with the folks at the Wizard booth and Scott Licina, Executive Editor from Fangoria Comics. A person from the Wizard booth went over and told the people who had been promised Madsen at the panel and the signing that Madsen was actually signing for Fangoria at the Wizard booth. According to HER, Jenkins actually yelled at HER. Scott Licina gave the disheartened people who came over to our line the lithos for free to be signed since they'd been waiting in the wrong place.

"After this happened, we took great pains to make sure that Madsen's exclusivity and location were clearly labeled in all of our PR material for Chicago and all of Wizard's material for Chicago.

"...Fangoria Comics flew in Michael and his children, oversaw their transportation and lodging, arranged the signing for HIS book, and saw him and his children safely home. For Chicago, we flew in Michael and his wife, oversaw their transportation and lodging, arranged the signing for HIS book, and saw them safely home. That sounds an awful lot like Michael was always Fangoria's guest, and I think Scott had a right to be upset that anything otherwise was implied."

NUN OF THE ABOVE

[Yellow Light]I hear Tony Lee is revamping something dear to his heart, what he's called his "first pitch."

I don't know if it was his first pitch, but I remember him talking about "Warrior Nun Areala" from Antarctic Press a while ago...

I always mistype that as "areola"

WE HAVE THE DEATH STAR IN OUR SIGHTS - Updated 8/16 2:35 PM PDT

[Green Light]Red 5 Comics made quite a Chicago sized splash. Look for them gunning for the "Star Wars" licence soon.

UPDATE: Scott from Red Star 5 stamps on any "going after Star Wars" flames. For now.

DIALOGUE HELL

[Green Light]The missing dialogue from page 21 of "Hellblazer" #234.

I understand retailers will be receiving corrected copies of the book next week.

BANNER SMASH

[Green Light]From San Diego, DC's specially printed up banner for their softball game with Marvel.

Who won? Sorry, I don't do spoilers.

SWIPE FILE

Bryan Hitch's "Fantastic Four"

His inspiration

"Teen Titans" #23 (1969)

Respectful tribute from "New Titans" #55 (1989)

Exploitative fanwank from "Bomb Queen" (2007)

PLUGS UBER ALLES

[Green Light]"Civil Wardrobe" is now available to read free from Wowio, represented by the homophobic-adjacent Mike Miller (he's not homophobic, he's just homophobic-adjacent) who may or may not have received a commission from this. I don't know. I'm sure there must have been business relationships that started off more traditionally…

"The Flying Friar" in colour is in the current Previews from Markosia. For $8.95. That Diamond code again… AUG073845. Tell your retailer you want a copy if you value your life.

My Life On Ebay.

Oh and can someone please find out why Warner Bros Animation won't allow a Hal Jordan figure in the JLU line. I'd look into it but... well... you know. It's dolls.

SMALL PRINT

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.

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Maybe.

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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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