Lying In The Gutters

Mon, January 7th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 138

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.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

[Yellow Light]

  1. Stop buying Marvel Comics. Subscribe to Marvel DCU in six months time. Start reading (all their titles) again then. Live with whatever spoilers get forced upon me. Save money and space.

  2. Sell half of the comics, DVDs, books that I own. I've got a baby on the way for goodness sake. And look how much space the last one took up. Anything that comes in, four things have to leave...

  3. Get to work on a Comic Relief Comic for next year.

  4. Write "Doctor Who." Somehow.

  5. Start some LITG video podcasts and inflict my hideous visage upon your good selves.

ONE MORE DRINK

[Green Light]Harry Osbourne, eh? Giving Flash Thompson, confirmed alcoholic, a full glass of champagne? Almost as if he's evil...

There are multiple reports that retailers have received requests from customers, often long time comic book fans, to drop their Spider-Man titles, even all their Marvel titles, after reading the conclusion of "One More Day". However, a number of retailers have reported an increased interest of "Brand New Day" readers.

But before LITG readers leave all their Marvel books in droves... consider "Spider-Girl." A monthly title published by Marvel featuring Peter Parker and Mary Jane, married, and even their little May Parker swinging around. If you really want a "screw you Joe" message, then sending this book up the ratings, written by a previous Editor-In-Chief to boot, would really do the trick. I understand some retailers have seen a small upswing for that book.

Joe Quesada uses the "Spider-Girl" example in his CBR interview, in a fairly dismissive and sarcastic fashion. But it'll need a drop in Spider-Man sales and a bigger upswing in "Spider-Girl" before anyone will take any notice.

As to the questions over what stories are or aren't in continuity any more, maybe said fans should also get in a tizzy over the Vietnam and John Belushi issues as well. Maybe we need a "One More Belushi" arc to tidy that last one up. Have Peter do a deal with Dan Aykroyd.

Still, from the pro community, Marvel Handbook writer Madison Carter posts "This story/arc/retcon is the biggest mistake Marvel has ever done." Peter David blogged "Well, I have not read it, to be honest, since I knew the story particulars for months now. Let us just say that it is not the direction I would have taken things." before clarifying things and to Chip Zdarsky's fantastic Watchmen/OMD mashup, Warren Ellis replied "You're a monster, Zdarsky. Fuck me."

In fact, let's see that mashup!

And now Dermot O'Leary joins in the fun.

On the Marvel boards however, they take it alla little more seriously

"Also, for those that want to claim "free speech"... there is absolutely no free speech in the world. The lives of people are given to defend countries across the world and give each country its way of life. So please, no standing on a soapbox claiming "free speech. This is not up for discussion. All threads on this will be deleted."

Yes sir!

And remember, don't just blame Joe Quesada and Joe Michael Straczynski for "One More Day." According to the CBR interview, you have to blame Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Jelp Loeb, Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonzo, Ed Brubaker and Dan Slott too!

ONE LESS LAYMAN

[Green Light]John Layman ex-Wildstorm editor and writer for books such as "Tek Jansen" and "Bay City Jive," has been increasingly vocal about his dissatisfaction with publisher Dynamite, complaining to other comics professionals, as well as Marvel higher-ups, about lack of royalties on their "Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness" series. Apparently Layman was under the impression there would be further compensation from Dynamite if the book did well in the marketplace, and is now upset because no compensation appears forthcoming. I understand that Layman walked away from completing the fourth issue of the just announced "Army of Darkness/Xena" four-issue cross-over.

Layman commented, "I can confirm I walked away from the 'Army of Darkness/ Xena' project, a mini-series that was initiated prior to 'Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness,' after three issues. My dealings with Dynamite on 'Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness' left a lot to be desired, so much so I felt I would be better off disowning the mini-series and disassociating myself from Dynamite rather than do any more work for them."

A Dynamite representative told me, "We're sorry John is unhappy after the fact. He is a very talented writer and we have the utmost respect for him. While the book may have performed well compared to other titles he has written, having two licenses on each book, which increases their appeal, does incur increased licensing costs, reducing the profits available for royalties. John was aware of the issues regarding double-licences prior to signing on, and we have paid him in full per our arrangement and will pay all future monies agreed upon. We do wish that John could have finished the AOD/Xena story he began two years ago, but that was not the case."

I just hope Ash will write the last issue himself.

KILLS ALL KNOWN BUGS

[Green Light]"Exterminators" is one of my favourite Vertigo titles. The escalating war of attrition between man and bug. Think of it as "The Wire," but with creepy crawlies.

Well, according to series inker John Lucas on the Stablepop podcast on the 25th of freaking November, the book is cancelled from issue 30, shipping in May. Either no one cares about "Exterminators" as much as I do, or no one listens to Stablepop.

MARVEL COMICS UNPAID

[Green Light]Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited offering has been criticized in

terms of lax security. Subscribers to the service, meant to offer streaming pages of Marvel's comics, find the images are actually downloaded in full into each PC, so they can be easily copied, printed and pirated in much higher resolution versions than those traditionally available through pirate sources.

Well, last week, one enterprising young chap discovered that every single page of every downloadable comic could be accessed directly through Marvel's website without being a subscriber, simply typing in URLs such as http://www.marvel.com/dotcomics_issues/ASM093_1963/hi_res_col/02.jpg for classic comic pages or split into unlettered art, http://www.marvel.com/dotcomics_issues/DD089_1998/hi_res_col/02.jpg and lettering files, http://www.marvel.com/dotcomics_issues/DD089_1998/let/02.swf.

LITG reader and Marvel DCU subscriber Derek Quenneville was writing a Firefox extension to enable him to read Marvel DCU's books in a more user-friendly reader like CDisplay, when he noticed the glaring error.

He realised that while the service required an initial login, the server didn't do any further authentication on requests for the actual pages.

Earlier this morning, I asked Marvel for comment on this story. None was received, but hours later the links no longer worked.

Whether the security flaw has been fixed, or if the loophole has

simply been moved, I don't yet know.

But I'm sure you'll tell me!

CHRIS TINGLE

[Green Light]French publisher Soliel and pan-European and Marvel republisher Panini have created a joint company/imprint called Fusion Comics, launching at this year's Angloueme Comics Festival, the largest comics convention in the West. Makes San Diego look like a market stall.

As well as reprinting a number of US titles in France, it will also publish a new comic by Chris Claremont and Phil Briones called "Wanderers." A post-King Arthur fantasy, in the chase for Excalibur.

FREE EXCLUSIVE ONLINE VERTIGO COMIC!

[Green Light]A while ago, LITG reported upon the online publication of the scripts to the never-published punk-era sequel to "Sandman Presents: Love Street," "Marque Moon" starring John Constantine. Well, for those who like their comics in actual comic form, the complete lettered artwork to the never published series... with John Constantine meeting The Clash...

SIM CITY

[Yellow Light]Dave Sim will be assaulting the internet in a couple of months time, and I hope to be a part of that.

I first picked up "Cerebus" around issue 120 and loved it. Loved it all. Some people poo poo the earlier and later stages, but not me. I treasured the stories, the characters, the unpredictability, the inventiveness of the art and lettering and the huge tangential divergences the book took all the way to its final, inevitable conclusion. Obviously, as the interviews proved, Dave Sim is a peculiar individual with certain beliefs that don't fit easily with the way we see the world around us, but hey, Alan Moore has a snake puppet god in the toilet, Grant Morrison has summoned the disembodied floating head of John Lennon, has communed with aliens and is trying to give birth to the DC Universe as a sentient fictional entity, and Mark Millar didn't believe black people could have Down Syndrome.

In relation, Dave Sim's belief in a Marxist/feminist/homosexual conspiracy to successfully remould Western civilisation into an emotional communist beast is verging on the normal. Though it should make an interesting context for his latest project "Glamourpuss," a fashion/superhero/feminist parody title.

Dave Sim paints himself as a reject of the comics industry, sent into exile over his views and badly treated by all. In reality, the people who he accuses of having done such a thing are few and far between, without much power. Gary Groth and Kim Thompson's "Comics Journal" is hardly the influential powerhouse it once was, certainly not compared to Wizard, Newsarama or My Space Comics. Bryan Talbot's recent book of gossip has been read by a fraction of those who read this column. The majority of influential people in comics don't bear Dave Sim's beliefs a second thought and would work with him on their own terms, if not his – see his recent non-foray into working for DC Comics' "Fables" series. Most comic fans haven't read "Cerebus," many haven't heard of it, and as a result, coming across his blog screeds seems like the rantings of an insane man, shouting at an opponent who just doesn't exist.

Doesn't stop him from being one of the very few modern living comic book geniuses. And doesn't stop "Glamourpuss" being one of the most eagerly anticipated series of the year.

SPECULATE AWAY

[Yellow Light]A new regular section of Lying In The Gutters – speculation. Yes, it may have destroyed the comics industry, resulted in the worst comics being published and a ton of chromium covers in the land fill, but I'm going to bring it back single handed.

First up, the "Locke & Key" comic by Joe Hill, being pushed hard by IDW.

Who is Joe Hill?

Why, none other than the son of Stephen King. Except, right now, IDW aren't mentioning that.

Considering the sales of Stephen King's comics, one could see this as a criminally underordered title. First issue out next month, so fill your longboxes! Pick up a few copies, then stick 'em on eBay when people start making a fuss.

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]Les Dabel gets hated...

Pete Von Sholly's "Capitol Hell" Postcard Book published by Denis Kitchen

Publishing comes out this week. Expect mainstream political press coverage. More info here, but here's a deleted scene.

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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