Lying In The Gutters

Mon, August 11th, 2008 at 2:43pm PDT | Updated: August 11th, 2008 at 11:47pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 170

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 lights are an indication (and only that) of how reliable I believe the story to be, based on source, context and gut feel. Red lets you know I think this rumour is bunkum, but it is still one being spread about. Amber indicates I think there is a heavy bias involved here, or it just seems a little dodgy. And Green as far as I can tell (as far as I can ever tell) is the real deal, junior.

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

MAKING AN EXHIBITION OF MYSELF

[Green Light]The Great British Comics Exhibition At Harrods I’m helping to curate has been moving leaps and bounds thanks to some very generous donations of work.

The exhibition will contain, amongst many others, pages from "Watchmen," "One Bad Rat," "X-Men," "Batman," "The Killing Joke" as well as the very first appearance of Judge Dredd. We’re also seeing pages from "Phonogram," "From Hell," "Sleaze Castle," "Halo Jones," "The Bash Street Kids," "Books Of Magic," "Charley’s War" and more.

I am desperately looking for more work from early "Beano" and "Dandy," as well as the likes of "Eagle," "Beezer," "Whizzer And Chips," "Mandy," "Look In," "TV Comic," "Tiger," "Roy Of The Rovers," "Viz" and more. E-mail me if you can help.

The show runs from September through to October, the work will be collected by Harrods, framed or unframed, insured and returned after the exhibition. Those able to donate will be credited alongside the piece and in published materials to accompany the exhibition. And, if you're willing, Harrods would be also happy to help sell your piece, and others.

SIEGEL JOINS DC

[Green Light]I understand that Janelle Siegel, previously Assistant Editor at Fangoria/The Scream Factory and writer at Newsarama, is the newest Assistant Editor at DC Comics.

No relation, sadly.

KICK ACE

[Green Light]

This is a panel from Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's "Kick Ass" #4. It's quite clearly a reference to his other Marvel series "1985". Along with "Wolverine" and "Fantastic Four" there will be considerable crossovers between the series - much more than this panel indicates, all dovetailing into each other.

When Mark's wife saw this panel, however, she told Mark it was shameless...

Here's Mark, fresh from his Forbidden Planet signing in London (apparently he even had a cheese sandwich)

Mark commented how he had to pay full price for it, even though he was signing there. You know Mark, there are some stereotypes that stay alive for a reason.

GALE STORM

[Red Light]One Mark Millar signing attendee was full of beans in that psycho-stalker kind of way, posting "I then said to him about how I thought Bob Gale was the worst writer out of all the braintrust writers and that I feel he's the worst Spider-Man writer I've ever come across and Millar agreed with me on all of it. We both also agreed that Bob Gale is a hypocrite" that made me picture a comics fan ranting on and Millar going "yeah whatever mate."

Naturally I wanted to get Millar’s take on this situation and he posted on Millarworld, "He seemed a perfectly pleasant guy, but seems to have used me to promote his own ideas on the Spidey relaunch and diss at least one other creator.

"As anyone who knows me knows, this is my golden rule. I never, ever trash other pros in public or in private and I certainly wouldn't with readers. As I've stated countless times the job is hard enough without pro eating pro and, worst of all, I'm friendly with Bob Gale. The honest truth is that I've never read one issue of ‘Brand New Day’ (tho have heard the Guggenheim stuff is very good) so this whole thing with me calling Bob Gale a "hypocrite" is just crazy. I haven't even read the stories so no idea what the context even is.

The poster seems to have recanted a little saying, "And for all I know Millar was probably agreeing with me on Bob Gale just to make me happy."

Of course he did, psycho-stalker, of course he did.

EDIT: The original post has been edited in a plea for forgiveness, with subsequent posts simply stating, "I'm an areshole."(sic)

KANGAROO CAUGHT

[Green Light]Brian Talbot is currently working on "Grandville," his anthropomorphic crime thriller, to be followed by an unnamed project with Australian poet Dorothy Porter.

Badger police!

LIGHT FANTASTIC

[Green Light]Britain's first graphic novelist Raymond Briggs, author of "Father Christmas," "The Snowman," "Where The Wind Blows," "Gentleman Jim" and "Ethel And Ernest," has a new project he's working on, about old age and death, "Turn Out The Lights".

DRAGON’S CLAWS ARE BACK! DRAGON’S CLAWS ARE BACK! DRAGON’S CLAWS ARE BACK!

[Green Light]Finally. It’s time for my own nostalgic trip down memory lane to be revived and reprinted. The Marvel UK comic series "Dragons Claws" by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior gets reprinted as a TPB in a couple of months.

Basically, imagine X-Men crossed with Judge Dredd.

I am so very, very happy.

STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE

[Green Light]Posing like homeys.

The X-Men summit via CB Cebulski. Is this confirmation of last week’s LITG story that Ed Brubaker is off the X-books?

LOEB LOW

[Green Light]It looks like you just can’t have private conversations at San Diego Comic Con anymore. One Gutterati writes to say, "I was getting a few books signed by Jeph Loeb when Rob Liefeld stopped by to say hi. Jeph and Rob were chatting when Loeb turned to Rob and said "Hey. Silvestri still has four issues left on his Marvel contract. What should we do?" Liefeld threw out X-Men, but I don't think Loeb was interested. Hulk wasn't a winner either.

Nevertheless, it looks like a Loeb and Silvestri project may be in the works.

But one wonders what happened during the Bendis/Ellis/Silvestri "Civil War: The Initiative" oneshot, or the six issue Bendis/Silvestri mini-series that never happened.

FLASHBURNING BRIDGES

[Green Light]In the TwoMorrows "The Flash Companion" interview with Mark Waid on his run on "Impulse," he discusses recent editorial decisions to turn the character into the Flash and then kill him off.

It does rather echo Chuck Dixon's recent comments

WELLS: Eventually, Impulse gave way to Kid Flash and Kid Flash, in turn, morphed into an adult Flash. Do you think those changes necessarily served Bart Allen well?

WAID: Nah. Listen, Geoff Johns and I made our peace about this. I love Geoff. Geoff's one of my best friends, and Geoff is an incredibly talented writer and is the only writer alive who loves these characters as much as I do. And I don't blame him for paving over the Impulse identity. The shoehorning of Impulse into Kid Flash was, as I understand it, not his idea. It was a wrongheaded edict passed down by an editor that never got the character and has made it his mission to purge DC of anything even remotely fun and lighthearted. But even as Kid Flash, he was still largely recognizable as Bart.

And then he became the Flash, and a more boneheaded move you couldn't have made with that character. Geoff and I fought against it, we fought like you wouldn't believe. Steve Wacker, who was slated to be the original editor, Geoff, me...we all fought the good fight, knowing beyond any shadow of a doubt that squeezing Bart into that costume would go against absolutely everything about that character. And we lost. We lost every step of the way. Ultimately, someone else's ego outweighed my opinion about what Bart would and wouldn't do, but that's how it often goes with corporate-owned heroes and is the price you pay dealing in them. Ask Keith Giffen sometime how many lectures he's had to endure about what Lobo "would and wouldn't do." So, in their infinite wisdom, DC Editorial made Bart The Flash, and that relaunch was one of the greatest critical failures in all of DC publishing history.

WELLS: Really?

WAID: In terms of sales they had on the first issue and the sales they posted by the fifth or sixth issues, it was just a crashing, crashing disaster. It was one of the most disastrous, embarrassing launches in DC history. And we were all " I'm not trying to sound all "I told you so," because it broke our hearts because we loved that character " but we warned them. We told them, "Don't do that, it won't work." Sure enough, six issues in, they realized they had a mess of a series they couldn't make work, no matter what. At that point, Dan DiDio called me up, a courtesy call, and said, "So we're going to kill Bart. I just thought I should let you know." My honest feeling at that point was like, "Dude, you killed Bart years ago." [mutual laughter] "That's so not Bart in that suit. I don't care. Everything in comics is cyclical. Bart'll be back eventually at some point anyway so, sure, go ahead and put the bullet through his head. I don't care." I figured Bart would be better off dead than misunderstood and mishandled.

Men can’t help acting on Impulse it seems.

IN THE BAG

[Yellow Light]It looks like Mark Bagley will be wrapping up "Trinity" in time to jump onto the new "Batman & Robin" DCU series next year when "Robin" is renamed. Bagley has been drawing Batman for a year, and as Bagley is most famous for his teenage Spider-Man series, latching himself onto the DC Universe's most prominent teenager feels the right thing to do.

Actually, I could have phrased that last clause a little better.

IT'S FRIDAY, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK, IT'S...

[Green Light]The "Astro City" special to follow the next volume of "The Dark Ages" will focus on the relationship between characters Crackerjack and Quarrel.

I always hate relationship Quarrels.

GRAY IMPORTANCE

[Green Light]I understand another "Gray Area" series by John Romita Jr and Glen Brunswick is in the offing. But not from Image.

WING AND A PRAYER

[Green Light]Thanks to Mark Millar on Millarworld, the inks to the cover of issue 3 of "War Heroes," by Tony Harris.

I bet the Pigman guy will love this.

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL

[Yellow Light]Looks like it's a good time to be a Paul Jenkins fan.

I hear Paul Jenkins will be writing one of the new Ultimate books to kick off after the cancellations after the Ultimatum crossover.

Added to that, Paul Jenkins' "Sidekick" will return in a new series from Image to be announced soon.

Next week: Paul Jenkins’ sanitary habits.

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]Allessandra Ambrosio and Donna Troy, via Greg Land.

BITS AND BOBS

[Green Light]Donna Barr reports on canine hunters of the dead.

Free giveaway indie anthology comic, if you happen to live in Washington.

Comic Book Gazette - for all your press release and scanned in comic book needs... currently showing Jim Valentino's "A Touch Of Silver", Erik Larsen's "Savage Dragon", Chris Elipolous' "Desperate Times", Tom Beland's "True Story Swear To God" and Jim Mahfood's "Classic 40 Oz Comics" every day.

"Bastard Road" from Image's "Popgun Volume 2" out last week, online.

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 check my eBay auctions here...

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.

TAGS:  mark millar, flash, bart allen, mark waid, mark bagley

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