Lying In The Gutters

Mon, January 28th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 142

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 fourteen long glorious and quite scary years.

All stories are sourced from well-connected individuals. But I urge you to use your judgment and remember, context is everything.

The traffic light system is simple. Green means there's a pretty god chance it's true. Amber means the source may be lacking, or have a clear bias. And Red means that I reckon it's bollocks. Still, you never know…

Lying In The Gutters is for your entertainment. Neither Fair Nor Balanced. Please don't shoot the messenger.

SOILED GOODS

[Green Light]Recently, LITG reported on a new Alan Moore comic book, "Unearthing."

At the time I said it was based on the same-titled short story published in the Iain Sinclair edited anthology "London - City of Disappearances," revolving around his friend, mentor, co-writer and co-magician, Steve Moore.

I didn't realise just how large a project it would be.

I understand that "Unearthing" will be a photo-illustrated hardcover novel, with some fumetti elements and visuals by Mitch Jenkins. Mitch took a very famous photo of Alan decades ago, which became the standard reference for the man and appeared on all of Moore's books at the time.

Alan offered Mitch the short story to use if he wanted it. Mitch agreed, taking it apart and has begun to recreate it using photography and image manipulation. The book will star friends and family in the various roles and Alan will appear in the book as himself.

Initial visuals can be seen here.

No publisher has yet been named, but this would sit well on the bookshelf with Jose Villarubia's interpretation of "Mirror Of Love" from Top Shelf.

The original short story can be found here.

Long term mutual acquaintance of Mitch Jenkins and Alan Moore, Phil Hall, is publishing his online diaries for the project. Read the prologue here, as "The Unearthing Diaries."

SHANNON FODDER - Updated 1:00 PM

[Green Light]Shannon Eric Denton, Komikwerks founder, Actionopolis co-founder and famed storyboard artist is on the move.

He's moving from Arizona to La Jolla, California, to start his new job as editor at Wildstorm.

CHO BITS

[Green Light]This column, for a number of weeks, ran original Frank Cho artwork from "Shanna The She Devil," that was bowlderised on publication.

This time, the intent is clear. Frank Cho writes:

"Ultimates #3 cover that you'll never see. This was done with a Brandy float art ball point pen. This is just the first prelim version. The final version has the Scarlet Witch cape covering all the naughty bits. Brandon Peterson helped me Photoshop the cape over her giant butt. I can't show the final version since the book hasn't been released. Steve Morger is my art agent. Bother him."

I wonder if he washed those claws first?

TOM TOM

[Green Light]Tom Brevoort is a Marvel Executive Editor, and has been publicly support the "Spider-Man: Brand New Day" stories in the face of fan criticism. But what did he think back on 6th October 1995? Lets find out with the power of the internet!

"Harry's dead. Really dead. Really and truly dead. We go so far as to exhume his body in the upcoming 'Legacy of Evil' one-shot.

"And if I ever stoop to having someone clone Harry, or reveal that it was only some genetic duplicate who died, please somebody shoot me."

If only he'd added "or brought back in a vague fashion through a deal with the devil" I think certain people would be descending on Manhattan with Uzis.

Say, I wonder if Mephisto's spell works on Google?

WIZARD'S STAFF

[Yellow Light]Wizard VP/Senior Managing Editor Joe Yanarella has now been moved to head up the company's Conventions/Operations dept. He was basically the managing editor for the entire editorial dept, and according to sources within the company, he's being heralded as the guy who's going to fix all of Wizard World's convention problems that LITG has been commenting on.

However, Joe is well known in the company for hating conventions. He's only attended a couple, for the sake of his children.

The current head of conventions remains in her position, but Joe has been appointed her senior, without discussion.

While we're talking Wizard, do you receive a Wizard Email Newsletter? Find it hard to get them to stop sending it to you? Well, it's been a running joke at Wizard over the inability to de-subscribe. Stephen Shamus was heard to say that it was a waste of time removing people from the database, when that time could be spent adding new people. Basically, if you fill in a Wizard survey at a convention, buy an item from the store, subscribe, sign up on the message boards, that's it. For life.

One side effect is that not too long ago the company email address for Wizard employees changed from "wizarduniverse.com" to "wizardent.com." The reason was that most major e-mail servers classified anything coming from "wizarduniverse.com" as spam - indeed, they were halted at the server level... nasty!

RYALLING THEM IN

[Green Light]Are you a lazy blogger? Comics journalist that can't be bothered to do your own research? Depend upon comic creator and employee blogs to fill your necessary links per day? Well then you'll love Chris Ryall's new blog.

He's already posted artwork from Don Figueroa's new project "Zombies!: Hunters"

See how easy it is? Just cut and paste.

LOOKING FORWARD TO VALERIE'S REVIEW OF THIS ONE

[Green Light]Tony Lee is writing a superhero one shot called "MILF Magnet." About a young superhero with the power to attract women of a certain age.

Art by Daniel Sampere. From Moonstone Books.

It's come to this then, has it Tony? Hmm?

THE SUPER POWERED DOVE FROM ABOVE

[Green Light]In an Independent article about projects never realized, novelist Will Self talked about one particular work...

Looking back over my files of unrealised projects, I found this one from 2004 about a group of average men – and woman – superheroes, entitled The Fantastic Four:

"Phillip Glass read a lot of newspapers and magazines. A great unruly thatch of them covered his kitchen table. Often his wife, Thelma, would take armfuls out into the garden and burn them. Phillip Glass discovered, through his assiduous – and yet casual – newsprint trawling that as his life winnowed down to seeming-nothing and suburban entropy, he had become, statistically, the most common individual in Britain – if not the wider world.

Phillip Glass was, he realized, a member of a silent minority that lay in the densely-shaded intersection of the most complex imaginable Venn diagram. His marital status was typical; his sexual orientation predictable; his income, median; his consumer profile, lacking in salience; his occupation, office bound. But far from Glass relapsing into the mild depression we might expect (we recall at this juncture, Beckett's 'Soon we will be old, then we will be dead'), one ordinary morning, when a senior colleague from Corporate HQ was late for a meeting, Glass discovered that he had Amazing Powers. His very anonymity and intuitive ubiquity made it possible for Glass to assume the role of the missing colleague, while yet attending the meeting himself. This was not a straightforward impersonation – but something more numinous and complex. Glass was the ultimate faceless bureaucrat, and as such anyone present could see anyone not present's face projected on to his fleshy screen..."

It goes on; Statman – as Glass styles himself – discovers Bigman, Crazy Cat Woman and Neurogirl, all of them bog-standard types with incredible powers. Together they begin to right the world's wrongs. Of course, then along came the TV series 'Heroes' and rendered my novel idea otiose. Am I pissed about this? Am I hell – nothing is ever lost in the creative economy – unlike the real one.

Marvel? Come on, make this man an offer he can't refuse. Heroin is a good one.

BATMESS

[Green Light]Oh this is funny.

Last year, I reported, based on some decently-placed sources, that DC was killing off Batman, replacing him with Jason Todd in an Alex Ross designed look, and promoting Bruce Wayne to being a New God.

I was then given word simultaneously that parent company Warner Bros. had earlier frowned on this plan and, by a source close to Grant Morrison, that this wasn't what was happening at all. Nothing close. Despite various clues that seemed to suggest it.

Dan Didio even expressed the view that such a plan would be a bad idea before, soon after, dropping hints that the death of Batman was indeed happening, with a Batman RIP arc.

And this week, The Times picked up the Death Of Batman, as did Die Spiegel who linked to a past LITG.

So remember, if Batman does die, I had the story first. And if he doesn't die, I had that story first as well. Either way, as long as Alex Ross still does the covers/designs, I win.

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]Wraith on the right.

Aragorn on a horse

SPECULATION CORNER

[Yellow Light]Yes, it's my continued attempt to bring back, single handed, the very thing that destroyed the comics industry in the nineties!

Previous iterations of this new regular feature spotlighted IDW's "Locke & Key" and Marvel's "One More Day" as items that may see supply exceed demand and thus fill your boots if you buy longboxes to sell at a later date. This week, "Buffy" #12. Part of the Season Eight series, this book will start the arc written by "Buffy" Season 7 and "Cloverfield" scriptwriter Drew Goddard. And Dark Horse have been recommending retailers order more copies of this, as a result of some unannounced event happening within its forty pages, directed straight from the mushy brain of Joss Whedon.

The solicitation reads, "Acclaimed television series writer, Drew Goddard ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Alias," "Lost"), takes the reins on Season Eight with his four-issue arc titled 'Wolves at the Gate.' The gang (yep, Dawn too) travels to Tokyo where they duel vampires with unusual, yet strangely familiar, powers."

What the special event is, I don't know, but expect publicity and expect increased demand ... but only when the book comes out. Make sure your multiple pull copies are listed on eBay before the book has shipped and Dark Horse announce a second print.

As certain people are doing with this week's "Captain America," of course. A new man to fill the costume. About to hit the press wires, and this time you all know about it in advance. Still some potential to scalp non-regular buyers and make them pay double/triple cover! Let's put one up on eBay right now in anticipation!

Talking of which, good timing on this eBay item, Wizard!

THE WAGES OF HEATH

[Green Light]On that topic, I'm going to make some ill advised comments about Heath Ledger now. Not on a Warren Ellis level, but still. Stop reading now if that's a problem.

Talk about whether or not Terry Gilliam's film "The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus," starring Heath Ledger will be abandoned, unfinished. There's talk about Johnny Depp taking over the remaining green screen work, but, well, with scenes like this...

...it's just never going to fly.

There's a lot of fuss about Jack Nicholson warning Ledger about playing The Joker and the effect the role can have. If it turns out that it did have a role in his death is this evidence, as proposed by Grant Morrison, that the DC Universe is indeed coming to life... and the Joker has taken his first real life victim?

See, said you should have stopped reading. Any complaints, send them to Patrick Drury, I nicked it from him.

EDIT: Nope, all about the sleeping pills apparently.

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]"Y: The Last Man" remote signing for the CBLDF, and Diamond run a CBLDF Retailer Membership Drive in the new Previews - $1000 gets you original art from Walter Simonson, Darwyn Cooke, Alex Maleev – and now Dave Gibbons, as well as CBLDF membership, website listing, signed "RASL Variant," Frank Miller comic and signage, and a bunch of variant comics signed by Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee and more.

No more immigrant Hulks.

The Graphic Novels of Roth.

Cataloguing the Lost product placements.

"Fishtown" to

be published by IDW...

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.

You can see my Guido Fawkes cartoon most Mondays at order-order.com. Here's the

latest.

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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