Lying In The Gutters

Mon, March 17th, 2008 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 149

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 good 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.

This will be the last normal Lying In The Gutters for quite some time. On Saturday, at 0609 GMT, Alice Grace Johnston was born.

A quick report...

Just as I did three years ago, I'm intending to go on sabbatical for a few months. Of course, last time I was dragged back by the big Alan Moore interview. So six weeks in, expect the "Mark Millar - I'm pulling my name from Civil War and taking Kick Ass to Oni" piece.

Actually, I won't leave you abandoned. Expect short columns, short digressions, the occasional cartoon. Each normal column takes a big chunk of time that I know I won't have. But there are things I can write that will take less time.

Like next week's review of Warren Ellis' first issue of "Astonishing X-Men."

'KING DEADLINES

[Green Light]So who is drawing Stephen King's "The Stand" for Marvel?

It was going to have been Tommy Lee Edwards. But the 24 issue monthly series was going to be a bit strenuous.

Marvel are maintaining their "no comment" position. It's quite funny that it took half a week for the comics community to realise that the project had been announced on a national radio network. It took until Sunday for CBR to notice and Newsarama followed on Monday.

BATPLANS

[Green Light]Look for a new Batgirl mini-series and a fifth week event starring The Joker, just in time for a certain movie.

LAST WEEK IN FACEBOOK FALLOUT

[Green Light]Tony Lee is blowing Rich Johnston a kiss. There, put THAT in LiTG, Journo!

Paul Cornell is always surprised with Rich Johnston quotes these status lines.

Jamie McKelvie reminds Rich that his Facebook profile is set to private, and that includes his status updates. ;)

Andy Diggle deleted Rich Johnston for a reason

SKRULL BLOGGER

[Red Light]Do we have another Felicia on our hands? This blog began well.

"Ok, so I've been at my job for a while now, but have to say, I finally feel like I'm REALLY there. You know know how you grow up loving Twix, and wondering how in the hell they get the carmel on that cookie and still have it enclosed in chocolate on both ends, but then you find out it's just some machine that spits out the smae thing every day thousands 999of times over and over again? You dream of a place for so long but then you get there and it's nothing like what you want it to be? That's not this. This is the way opposite of that. People really DO what I hoped they did, and now I'M actually part of it! I feel like I have a voice. It's crazy weird and I can't believe it's real..."

Where could this job be?

Messiah Compex rocks so much. I can't wait to see what you guys think of it!! Yeah, there's some stuff I don't really get or agree with, but it should have some pretty awesome moments. And, hell, it's Brubaker & company writing, ppl who respect the characters and do their homework (unlike some people)!

Well, that's quite a clue... and he's still pretty positive.

I wish I had next week off too, but no, I'll be here photocopying shit while everyone else is getting their New Years on. Yay for me.

Is the dream getting a little tainted by photocopying duty?

BTW- whoever invented the omnibus didn't have to stand over a xerox machine for two hours doing prep work for one. Thanks for being sick, Jen. Yeah I help because she's one of the hottest (only) girls in comics, but I think I have nipple cancer from the xerox light blasting at me 5643 times.

Yes, it definitely is Jen Grunwald there, I presume, who edits the Marvel Omnibuses. Omnibi? Your choice. But of late it's all got to him.

I wish I was going to Wizard World.

But nooooo, I'm here, photocopying and cataloging and helping make sure THE ESSENTIAL SERIES YOU FORGOT EVER EXISTED gets on shelves by the crucial June street date that some marketing genius or another has decided will guarantee maximum sales.

The glow of the photocopier is much better than Los Angeles, any day of the week.

-----

Black snowy water everywhere. Thanks Bloomberg. Good job. Did see a skinny dude slip and bite it outside of Midtown comics, though. LMAO. Wish it had been Joe, tho. He's pissing me off.

-----

I was so angry at one of my co-workers that I came very close to posting some artwork from the latest issue of Astonishing X-men because I know if any of you saw it the entire internet would fold up onto itself. No, not crack in half, that joke was old before Bendis finished saying it the first time.

But I didn't. Not this time.

But I could have.

-----

I need a girlfriend is what I am saying. Working at Marvel does not get you the ladies.

Maybe if I was actually getting paid more...

-----

Who let Brian Reed into comics? Seriously?

-----

I was just in Jen's office and flipped through the newest issue of POWERS and it's neat and all, but how cool is that ending? No, not the cliffhanger to the story, which is pretty cool and all. No, I mean the 17 pages of Diamond retailer solicitations! It's like Bendis said "I know we put more pages in the book, but I can't be assed to fill them. Here. Go buy these other books I wrote!"

I guess not enough people wrote in e-mails to him this month to fill a proper letter column. Maybe he should go kill another 3rd rate Marvel character or two so he can get some attention again. Oh. Wait. That's EXACTLY what he's doing... not that I said anything, mind you.

-----

I know how to fix him!! Hello!!

This is the part of the job that drives me bonkers!! Its right there, five desks away, A broken Doctor Strange! I can fix him! But I can smell it in the air...I should keep me yap shut.

Bendis has plans! Brubaker has plans!

Everybody has plans!! well, I'm right here and I know my plan is better because I care! I care a lot. that's why I am working here for next to nothing, because I CARE A LOT!!

GOD forbid anyone but Bendis gets to touch the toybox! Honestly, he seems like an OK guy. I met him when he was up here. He's not an asshole like the guy he was with... but he shouldn't be writing both Avengers books. He just shouldn't. It was a bad idea.

AND I CAN FIX DOCTOR STRANGE!!

IN A DAY!!

-----

Looking at the Newsarama post about the Spidey panel yesterday, and so many things came out that were supposed to be hush hush for another few weeks. People around here treat things like Peter finding out the truth about Aunt May like it's a state secret, but then they just accidentally say things on panels in front of con crowds. Hilarious.

And then he went outside... posting to Brian Bendis' blog to break it down

sometimes a dream job turns out not to be a dream job. trust me.

And then slagging off the company's biggest project this year

"Well, I have read Secret Invasion 1 in it's entirety. I gleefully look forward to you all storming the Bendis castle and calling for his head."

Looks like Brian has taken note.

So... insider whistleblower or fake? There's no actual spoilers here, the people mentioned are fairly public - and the people who aren't receive no mention. There's little that couldn't have been created by someone with a vague knowledge of Marvel, message board and too much time on their hands. And just how much actual photocopying needs to go on for reprints in a moden publishing house anyway?

Though if he is real, he should be rather identifiable.

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]

Land

Land

And thanks to David Brothers, Solenna, Hoatzin and David Uzumeri, the X-Men #500 pencil cover, with some familiar Land poses placed over, then made see-through.

Philips

Heat

STERN WORDS

[Green Light]A recent podcast interviewing Steve Wacker indicated that Marvel were talking to Roger Stern about working on Spider-Man.

FALLEN OUT

[Green Light]LITG recently reported on a legal letter from Matt Groening's representatives concerning the "Fall Out Boy" comic contravening the Simpson's trademark on "Fall Out Boy" in comics. I now understand that the band have acquiesced and the future of the comic at all is now in doubt. I'm starting to feel sorry for the Dabel Brothers.

NOTABLE NOTATION

[Green Light]Is it worth spending time to slightly mock page 19 (art) of "Serenity" #1, panel 1, with the the Black-With-Stars instructions by the penciller still left in the art... and asking why Barry Windsor Smith's face isn't seen in the night sky?

Not really. But I did anyway.

PINK PANTHER THEME TUNE

[Yellow Light]I hear that artist Brian Denham has had quite a disagreement with his "Man-Thing" editor project over whether a prostitute character should be in Victorian dress, Denham's preference, or modern dress, editor's choice.

I always go for Victorian.

Some rumour has Denham leaving Marvel over this, but I can deny those - he's working on a number of Marvel projects.

SPECULATION CORNER

[Green Light]Five covers for "Secret Invasion" #1? One concerned retailer remarked that it was "like the 1990s all over again."

Which is great news for this section of the column. The industry can be damned, I want to see comics priced out of the hands of normal people again! Hah hah hah hah hah!

There are some out-of-print trade paperbacks that remain a mystery as to why they aren't reprinted. Especially considering the price some go for.

DC have a few mysteriously missing, such as "Batman Prodigal," with a major Nightwing story, listed by private sellers at Amazon from $59.99

But Marvel seem to be the main offender here. Dan Jurgens' "Thor" sells in trade paperbacks for significant sums. Amazon lists Book 1 from $34.95, Book 2 from $69.99 and Book 3 for $69.99 also.

As for Garth Ennis' Marvel Knights run on the "Punisher," Book 1 is from $96.25, Book 2 from $50, Book 5 from $50 and Book 6 for $38

Even " Wolverine/Punisher: Revelation" goes for $34.99.

Remember these are the lowest prices. When they sell, more expensive copies are available from other sellers.

So where else does demand severely exceed supply?

Spider-Man has quite a few, with "The Clone Genesis TPB" going for $40, "Origin of the Hobgoblin TPB" for $29.99 and "Revelations TPB" for $44.99.

The X-Men family is next up, with "Zero Tolerance TPB" at $49.95, "Gambit TPB" for $30, "Gambit Hath No Fury TPB" for $72.70, "Gambit House Of Cards TPB" for $49.99 and "Wolverine/Deadpool Weapon X TPB" for $50.74 and X-Men Deathwish TPB (Wolverine as a Skrull - major "Secret Invasion" relevance) isn't even available from private Amazon sellers in the US, and Amazon UK's lowest price is around $75.

So our Speculator Corner tip this week -- find out which Marvel TPBs are just out of print, involving a major or movie-related character, stock up and then stick them on Amazon for an outrageous sum. Or maybe even just go through your bookshelves.

FINDING LEE

[Green Light]Last week's look at Pat Lee's prescence in Hong Kong has developed a little.

Going to the AliveNotDead website finds a Hong Kong artist collective. This is Pat Lee's entry. He's making films, videos, animation, and living the A-list high profile jet setting creator life that all the people he owed thousands and thousands of dollars can only dream of.

The site has the mission statement "is an online community dedicated to helping artists. Our goal is to strengthen artist communities worldwide and to help connect these communities together. Through our website, artists can connect with and grow their audience, share their creative works, and meet and collaborate with other artists."

Why not pop by and say hi?

SINGING GRANT

[Green Light]Back in the day, Grant Morrison used to sing in a band. It was called "The Fauves," they gained a tiny bit of acclaim. Someone's found one of their songs, stuck it on YouTube alongside some old Superman cartoons.

Sing it, Grant!

DOUBLE DARE

[Green Light]Garth Ennis won't write the second volume of "Dan Dare" from Virgin Comics, though Gary Erskine will still be the artist. They haven't chosen a writer yet, though, and the series is due in December.

Expect an omnibus style hardcover of the book in time for Christmas, and copies of the comics being sold at London's Science Museum, itself scheduling a Dan Dare exhibition.

Virgin and Titan books are putting out a Dare book each on April 23rd, with Virgin's mini-series collecting and Titan's latest hardcover

of classic Dan Dare comics. Garth Ennis and Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson's son, Peter, will be doing a panel together at NYCC.

Also, possibly away from Virgin, expect Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes' "Dare" series to be repackaged again and other of Dare's Eagle compatriots to receive revivals of their own. "Computer Warrior" may be one of the first.

BRAGGING RIGHTS

[Green Light]From August

19th 2002...

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE

I hear a vague rumour that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's next Marvel colour book will be "Captain America:" White. A nice contrast to "Captain America: Truth" then.

BITS AND PIECES

From Kieron Dwyer and Rick Remender for Crawl Space... "Amry Of Frankenstein."

March 17th - London Underground Comics Thing vs UK Web & Mini Comix Thing this weekend.

Alex Ross doesn't really do conventions these days. But he is doing Wizard World Chicago.

More Unearthing Diaries from the ugliest man in comics, Phil Hall.

"Dugout", the sequel to "Hench."

P Craig Russell draws the "Sandman: Dream Hunters" comic adaptation.

Book Closeouts, the on-line remainder store, have 75% off on 1,100 Tokyo Pop titles -- fill your platform boots.

And finally, Howard Chaykin's "American Flagg" will be published (at last) this summer in time for the character's 25th anniversary.

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 here. 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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