Lying In The Gutters

Mon, December 24th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 136

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.

Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve. Who is Christmas Eve? Well, clearly this little girl.

TIS THE SEASON TO BE A SKRULL

[Yellow Light]Following Marvel's Creative Retreat, LiTG has learned that at least one of Marvel's top 20 books is being cancelled not due to sales -- but to Skrulls.

FRACTIONALLY INTERESTING

[Green Light]I understand that Matt Fraction will be working on an X-book in the near future. The already-announced "Young X-Men" has been touted as a possibility.

Fraction writing X-books, Antony Johnston writing "Wolverine." We'll have The V's Nick Locking writing "Cable" next. Or a comic named after Anna.

MERCURY ORBITING

[Green Light]"Anna Mercury" is a new five-issue colour mini-series by Warren Ellis for Avatar.

Cover artist, Paul Duffield.

It comes with the following text:

"Dancing amid the spires of a city called New Ataraxia, there is a woman who can cloud men's minds, leap across buildings as if weightless, unerringly fire twin automatic pistols in the most insane conditions, and disappear in a crowded room. She fights against the political repression of an insane technocratic society, and she comes from a place that no-one in New Ataraxia has ever heard of. And she's got one hour to save the city from itself.

"A high-octane blend of The Shadow, Tomb Raider, retropunk science fiction and 21st century Weird Pulp Action, ANNA MERCURY is a headlong adventure serial about a beautiful and mysterious spy-adventurer who is not what she seems...."

One of these days, mysterious comic characters will be exactly what they seem.

MARS ON STRIKE?

[Yellow Light]From the USA TV Guide, over the "Veronica Mars" comics, Rob Thomas speaks. "I had a second meeting with DC comics. I heard that the [WGA] didn't want [TV writers penning TV-based] comic books during the strike as it would promote a network property. We're investigating whether there are similar hurdles for a defunct TV series like Veronica Mars. Naturally, I won't be writing it if the Guild doesn't want me to, but we're hoping that's not the case."

Of course, Joss Whedon and Brian K. Vaughan wrote their "Buffy" work before the strike.

WIZ BITS

[Yellow Light]One Wizard employee when asked if they'd read LITG this week said they all had, but that I'd only scratched the surface. Ever the way, it's the nature of gossip and rumour columns to just get crumbs from the table. So let's sweep the floor a little.

So, apart from the $200,000 shortfall, what else may have led to Wizard's recent employee departure?

I'm told that the move coincided with Gareb Shamus' attempts to inject more capital into his mixed martial arts fighting league (IFL). Of course he has since resigned.

And because they have to make money somehow, look at the markup on their Amazon store for Baby and toddler toys. Ouch. Quite a mark up for the festive season there.

My favourite part of all the stories running around is that they've fired anyone who can change the signature file on their PR account with NewsReleaseWire. Right now, anyone who wants more info has to contact Mel Caylo. That's ex-Editorial Director, Mel Caylo. Oops.

Remember folks, the only worse thing than being talked about, is to be caught by your parents having sex with a hyena.

FOR CORNELL...

[Green Light]Apart from this new quite excellent Doctor Who short story illustrated by Mike Collins, Paul Cornell has a mystery Marvel project he's starting to push.

I hear tell that Tony Lee is doing a "Doctor Who" series for IDW in 2008. Contacting him, Tony says "All I can say is that it's a six parter called 'Doctor Who: The Forgotten, it's a Tenth Doctor and Martha tale, and it involves more than one Doctor. And that sound right there? That is the sound of a thousand Doctor Who fans looking up in shock."

And "2000AD" co-creator Pat Mills has a new audio "Doctor Who" episode, out in January. Worth a link.

But Jason Liebig, what are you up to?

SUPER TROOPERS

[Green Light]A look at some "Starship Troopers" artwork from Paul Green, from Cy Dethan's new series, "Bad Blood" from Markosia.

Markosia publish "The Flying Friar" Color Edition. Which seems to have sold out everywhere – though Markosia do still have copies. A number of West Coast retailers seem to have been shorted their entire order, so don't be hard on them, and Diamond are sorting out the problem by ordering more copies. Hooray!

STATUE-ESQUE

[Green Light]Brian Pulido wrote the following on the Lady Death Universe message board.

"As of products shipping in March 2008, due to a change in policy, Diamond Comics Distributors will no longer consistently carry LD prints and limited run collectible comics.

"We are not being singled out. This is an overall change in their policy toward these type of products and variant covers offered by independent publishers."

Let's look what fallout that brings in the New Year.

SWEET INNOCENCE

[Green Light]Bryan Talbot and Mark Stafford's new project for Desperado, "Cherubs," looks sensational. Here are a few pages.

Bryan Talbot's "Naked Artist" and "Bryan Talbot Art Book" made for fascinating reading this week when I finally got round to them. Dave Sim is less than pleased though...

NILES BETTER

[Green Light]Steve Niles and Ashley Wood have a new series starting with IDW next year called "The Mysterie Society."

Niles has had a huge boost as the IDW graphic novel adaptation of the book "I Am Legend" has been screaming out of shops thanks to the Will Smith movie – though the comic is pretty much word-for-word from the novel. And the movie really isn't.

A LOOK INTO IDW'S FUTURE

[Green Light]A few spare IDW files floating around. Looks like we can get some ideas of IDW's future plans. Mike Avon Oeming on "Badger"...

Jennifer Love Hewitt's incredible shrinking waist...

War in Bete Noire...

DC Fontana's Star Trek issue cover...

... and Hot Mummy Action!

WILDCRISIS

[Green Light]How busy is B Clay Moore for 2008? "JSA Classified," "Superman Confidential," creator-owned Wildstorm book, a Tony Harris co-creator book and both "'76" and "Hawaiian Dick" continue for Image.

The JSA arc with Ramon Perez is all about redefining Wildcat for the future of "Final Crisis."

FAMILY FIGHT

[Green Light]Neal Adams famously drew the Superman/Muhammad Ali fight comic.

And now his son, Josh Adams, is working on a webcomic biography of Ali for Feb/March.

CHRISTMAS CHARITY

[Green Light]The Hero Initiative is reviving FOOG (Friends Of Ol' Gerber) for 2008 as FOOG, TOO! To help "Howard The Duck" and "Omega The Unknown" creator Steve Gerber with his recovery from lung transplant surgery. He is now officially in the lung transplant list. More at his blog.

While on eBay, there are auctions to help raise money for Bill Mantlo's continuing long term care. Walt Simonson has added Rom/Dire Wraiths and Thor/Trolls pieces...

BAKER'S DOZEN

[Green Light]I understand that "Truth" creators, Kyle Baker and Bob Morales, have a new project in the works together.

Kyle's been a busy boy, "Special Forces" #2 just out, "Bakers: Babies And Kittens" in February, the collected "Nat Turner" and a "Kyle Baker: How To Draw" book on the way.

KEY SALES

[Green Light]Joe Hill's "Lock & Key" from IDW is another novelist-turns-his-hand-to-comics - with "Heart Shaped Box" topping the NY charts, this very original series may take some people by surprise.

MOORE FEAR

[Green Light]The cover to Dark Horse's "Fear Agent: I Against I" #1 (or issue 22, your call) grabbed from the desktop of Tony Moore, before even Dark Horse have had a chance to see it!

PLANET BLOGOSPHERE

[Green Light]So what's dribbling through the interweb regarding upcoming AiT/PlanetLar books?

Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon of "Gearhead" talking about their upcoming OGN, "Cupid."

And you can check out art from the OGN "Dodge & Twist" by Tony Lee and "2000AD's" Paul Peart-Smith, a "sequel" to "Oliver Twist" as a heist movie.

As for Shannon Denton on "Aces: Curese Of The Red Baron," the book about what happened to the famed German air fighter and to the British and American pilots who both claim to have shot him down, these images have been internet-floating.

DWAYNE DEEPLY

[Green Light]Dwayne MacDuffie writes "JLA." Rather well actually, as he does "Fantastic Four." He also writes on the V Forum. Where he becomes a genius.

Discussing current issues, Nick Locking wrote, "The art on JLA is fucking heinous. And out of touch! Guy hasn't had that silly bowl haircut in years!"

Writer, Dwayne MacDuffie joined the conversation, stating "Hey! At least it's a lead-in to a crossover that I know nothing about. Consistency!"

"Texas Strangers" writer Dan Evans jumped in with "was that understatement about the honeymoon because they didn't tell you that Connor was gonna get killed by a cloud?"

Dwayne replied, "They wouldn't tell me *anything*, so I took a flyer."

Helpfully, Dan added "BTW there are 7 Lantern corps in case that affects your upcoming story."

Dwayne concluded, "I'm supposed to stay away from the Lanterns, I found out yesterday."

What planning...

PRIME CUTS

[Green Light]So what does Darick Robertson do when he's not drawing "The Boys?" Why, "Authority Prime" for DC Comics of course. Let's have a sneak peek.

TOP GUN

[Green Light]From December 27th on Top Cow's Pilot Season home page expect lots and lots of free comics for Christmas...

LESS THAN EXPRESS

[Yellow Light]LITG has previously covered stories regarding difficulty with payments with print-on-demand merchants Comixpress.

And I'm hearing them again.

They may have published "Mouse Guard" first, but that hasn't stopped repeated problems with books not being delivered when orders have been made and creators of even the best selling (or at least best ordered) books on the site not getting paid a penny yet.

WYNN SOME, LOSE SOME

[Yellow Light]I am reading that one writer, Marvin Wynn, is soliciting new artists for his "Silent Strike" comic series.

This was news to Adriano Baptista who had pencilled a 32 page issue of the series, including a cover and character designs without getting paid.

Glass House Graphics had inked half the issue when they realized money wasn't forthcoming.

Wynn owes both $3000 at present.

So, you know. If you're interested in working for the fellow, maybe ask for cash up front.

THE POWER OF PR

[Green Light]Any of you X-fans still have a soft spot for ex-X-editor Mark Powers? Then check out his Devil's Due series "Drafted."

Brain Warmouth, ex of Wizard, and this week, Devils Due's Marketing guy should get on the case. Though he had the foresight to send me this delightful "Hack/Slash" unseen cover for issue #11 by our very own Jamie McKelvie.

BYRNING LOGS

[Green Light]Yuletide hilarity from the Byrne Board...

Poster A: "As long as we have "favorite" threads going, let's get really subjective. Favorite male and female superhero costumes. One of each, no villains. Mine: Batman (Neal Adams/Jim Aparo) and Black Canary (Golden Age)."

Poster B: "Batman. Phoenix (obviously before she became "Dark")"

John Byrne: "Harrumph! Having "designed" the Dark Phoenix version, I am naturally curious as to why you'd think a preference for the original would be "obvious". (Mostly, this is informed by knowing that the original Phoenix costume was not colored as Dave intended -- he wanted the green to be white -- so it never looked right to me.)

Poster B: "I added that because I couldn't help thinking that someone might feel compelled to "correct" me by saying that Phoenix was a villain."

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]The cover to IDW's Transformers movie sequel comic

And an old random Marvel comic...

The cover to IDW's "Angel" comic #5

And an old random DC comic...

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]Heeb Love Dossier. And Gentiles.

The Fred Hembeck Omnibus. Mighty mighty me. Over 900 pages of HEmbeck for less than £25. Fred did a wonderful, very memorable page for "Civil Wardrobe", and I was honoured. I'm looking forward to buying this one off the stands and attempting to drag it home.

Duncan Fegredo is busy working on Hellboy - an 8 page story for FCBD and "Hellboy: The Wild Hunt." But while he's busy, he'd be very happy for people to be reminded of his "Stuff" collection of art, and his project with Sean Phillips, "Intersections."

CRAIGSLUST

[Green Light]And finally, a romantic tale for Christmas. Remember the young lady who posted her desires for a MidTown Comics staffer, a little too forcefully on CraigsList? Especially considering she had a boyfriend?

Well, they hooked up months ago and are still seeing each other. Awww.

What a tale for the grandkids to look up on Google Archives through their inbuilt spinal column wireless receivers.

NEXT WEEK

[Green Light]I don't care if you all hate it, I think it's great. The Eighth Annual Rumour Awards. Next week. Why not brush up on the previous seven?

SMALL PRINT

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

My social networking is pretty much all Facebook these days, but I'm around at Bebo, MySpace, ComicSpace and Twitter, too.

And my Wii number is 0512 2690 8446 2879

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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