Lying In The Gutters

Tue, September 2nd, 2008 at 2:31pm PDT | Updated: September 4th, 2008 at 4:47pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 173

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.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "VPILF"- Nick Locking

Goodness. In two months the USA will elect its first black President, or in two years they'll get their first female one.

INFIDEL CASTRO

[Green Light]Today, I hear DCU Associate Editor Nachie Castro gave his notice to DC Comics, to move to Disney Publishing. As is standard practice when an employee chooses to move to a rival, he won't have to serve his notice, was asked to pack up his things and left DC this morning.

Nachie plays the drums in the band "Skelter," which also boasts DC editor Michael Wright.

HARRODS: THE COMIC EXHIBITION

[Green Light]Next Monday sees the opening of the Harrods exhibition of British original comic book artwork curated by yours truly. "Comic Timing" will feature original artwork from "Watchmen," "The Killing Joke," "Gentleman Jim," "Tamara Drewe," "Breakfast After Noon," "Petra Etcetera," "Charleys War," "Commando," "From Hell," "Captain Britain," "All Star Superman," "Jack Staff," "V For Vendetta," "Jackie," "Face Ache," "Nellyphant," "The Filth," "Books Of Magic," "Phonogram" "Tank Girl," "Slaine" and much more, as well as the first "Judge Dredd" page from 2000AD #2 and early "Dennis The Menace" and "Oor Wullie."

It's free, it's open until the end of October, and then it's gone forever. Go along, tell me what you think and please, please, please blog about it.

Entrance via Door 5, Lower Ground Floor. Ask a startled security guard where all the comics people are, he or she will show you.

David Lloyd will also be doing a "V For Vendetta" presentation, and I'm hoping Bryan Talbot will do one of his shows in store as well.

BACK TO SCHOOL

[Green Light]You know all that talk of the darkening of DC Comics? What with Marveldog Miracledog Wonderdog eviscerating two children's cartoon characters in "Teen Titans," and Warner Bros love of the darkness in "Dark Knight" and wanting it in the new "Superman" movie, the "JLA" movie, hell why not have a serial killing transvestite "Bugs Bunny" movie while we're at it?

If you need a break, some good news. "DCU Elementary" is an upcoming DC project, with all the bad guys and good guys of the DC Universe at school. Currently unscheduled, but it's good to go.

I'd buy this. For my daughter, Eve. Yes, that's right, for Eve. Not me, no. Honest.

Until then she can keep reading the Andi Watson "Glister" books from Image. They're lovely!

BRAND NEW MANIFESTO

[Green Light]Hang on, what was it Tom Brevoort said about "Brand New Day?"

"Also, part of going forward is to cease the unending homages to the same three great Spidey stories of the past. So, please, no girl-falling-from-the-bridge, and no lift-the-big-heavy-thing-off-his-back-to-save-Aunt May. Let's stop repeating the story iconography of the past and come up with some new images to stick in the readers' minds."

That's right. This image?

I think that's clear, that's a Marvel policy statement that no one can quibble with, and certainly not contradict, why I... hang on what? What's that?

Oh.

Oh well. As you were.

A CASE FOR CONTRACTS

[Green Light]Rick Olney's back. And up to his old tricks.

From Jerry Whitworth:

A few days ago, a paper I wrote called A Case for Comics appeared on the blog of a gentleman named Rick Olney. Someone PMed me on MySpace about it and said I may want to take some sort of action against him if he posted it without permission (where Olney didn't ask). I didn't think anything of it and posted a comment telling him thanks for spreading the word (considering my name was on it, I figured everything was cool). Later that day I came to realize Rick was the guy sending me messages from the MySpace account of a group called ORCA. Today, ORCA tried to post a comment on my MySpace thanking me for giving Rick permission to reproduce my paper in its entirety and a PM from someone else telling me that if someone gives Olney permission to post something on his blog he comes to own it. The other person also recommended doing a search on Olney to see what he's about and I haven't read anything good about him. I don't know what to do now. On one hand, I'm a writer slowly beginning to get into the field and could use all the exposure I can get, but then again I don't want to have some sort of legal issue over my work for what seems to be such an innocent thing. Should I ask Mr. Olney to remove my work or just leave it alone? He seems nice in his messages he's sent to me but everywhere I've looked he's made out to be a very bad person. Here's his blog:

Oh boy.

BEND IT LIKE BENDIS

[Green Light]Mark Millar's "War Heroes" tour keeps turning up odd signed items such as...

When will Bendis retaliate? When? When?

ALREADY SEEN

[Green Light]LITG recently mentioned an "Unseen Batman," coming out during the Detective Comics/Batman skip months. Turns out, it's actually "Batman: Unseen" or "Batman Vs The Invisible Man," with Doug Moench and Kelley Jones reuniting, announced over a year ago and intended for publication last January.

But when it comes out, you won't have to wait much longer, it will be published bi-weekly!

You lucky, lucky people.

SUBWAY STATIONS

[Green Light]I'm told about a new DCU series starting next year called "Underground Railroad." No details as yet.

TWIST AND SHOUT

[Yellow Light]Could you move your comics from front-of-previews Image Comics, to back-of-Previews Wowio-funded Chimaera Studios and spin it as a good thing?

No, I couldn't either.

WHO'S THERE

[Green Light]John Byrne writes that IDW have asked him to pitch "Doctor Who" projects. A "Star Trek" crossover was nixed, as were any Dalek projects, but it's on the back burner.

And I understand that Ben Templesmith will be working on a "Doctor Who" one-shot.

I want a go!!!

WATCHMEN BABY

[Green Light]The very first published work of Alan Moore hit eBay last week and made a splash. #325 ($600) of one.

I spoke to the seller who told me that the purchaser was a Northampton resident, Alan's home town.

He told me, "I bought the fanzine from another collector who had sent me a list of ones he had for sale. I collect and sell UK fanzines (as I'm also writing an index) and 'Seminar' was one I'd never heard of. As I say in the description, I was amazed to find an article by Alan Moore as though I knew of the late 70s work in 'Sounds' etc, I'd never thought he'd have something published as early as 1970!

"Interestingly, it actually reads like a piece by Moore - even though he's effectively a child. I knew it was the Alan Moore because he thanks Steve Moore at the end and then I saw the Khoury book to confirm.

"I knew it was a very important find - as it must be the first (or joint first) published work Moore did.

"So there are two known copies - mine and the one George Khoury used in his book (any idea where he got his from?)"

"It had 50+ watchers and 29 bids. I recognise most of the bidders as regular fanzine collectors - including Padraig who has bought from me before."

One piece he's not selling, "Fantasy Express no.5 from 1982 - signed by Alan Moore - one of my favourite pieces ever!"

QUOTING THE DEAD

[Green Light]In other Alan Moore news, he's given a cover quote to new horror comic "Dead Souls" by Kurt Amacker and Louis Manner.

"Even with Eastern European heavy-hitters Vlad Tepes and Erzsebet Bathory as the deathless vigilantes of the title, the main character that emerges through this narrative is that of New Orleans herself - a Gothic beauty who moves to the rhythm of trad jazz, wearing her bruises and bereavements, her steamy history, and her wild voodoo nights with pride, with passion. A fascinating debut that delivers much and promises a great deal more."

"Dead Souls" is available here

and here as

the publisher doesn't go through Diamond.

REECE'S PIECES

[Yellow Light]Last week's LITG touched on Colleen Doran's history with one Warren Reece. But what actually is Reece's mysterious past?

The anthology "Aunt Bessie's How To Survive A Day Job While Pursuing The Creative Life" has chapters by Stephen King, Sir Ian McKellan... and Warren, credited as "An archivist." And he tells his own bizarre story about working at Marvel, how he was chosen by Stan Lee to work at Marvel, how the Editor-in-Chief and other staffers conspired against him, his being locked in a Mental Health Facility, his subsequent escape (thanks to his "readings about Houdini"), and a brief mention of an "Al Qaeda terrorist cell" near his home.

Enjoy!

J.M. DeMatteis also credits Reece with helping him get his first assignment at Marvel.

TROPICAL THUNDER

[Green Light]Time to mine Amazon for books to come.

IDW reprint uncollected Dreamwave Transformers issues. This was from their third volume, intended to be ongoing, but only lasted ten issues.

DC continue their mining of high-end Alan Moore product by turning the "Swamp Thing" trades into a series of hardcovers.

And yes, "Absolute League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier" was a real travesty - an oversized copy of the original hardcover, that junked the different paper stocks from the original, reduced the quality of the visuals, left out the solicited vinyl record, didn't include the script book included in previous Absolute League volumes and charged more per page than anything DC Comics have ever published.

However, at least this time they haven't managed to stop UK

bookstores from stocking the volume. If the retailers can find anyone mad enough to pay that much, that is. You could buy half an issue of "Watchmen" #8 for that.

There are plenty of interesting projects dotted around Amazon such as "T-Minus: The Race to the Moon" by Jim Ottaviani, Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon from Aladdin. And Greg Sadowski's "Supermen!" from Fantagraphics. And what is... "The Strange Deaths Of Batman" from DC?

The Grant Morrison/Mark Millar run on "The Flash" finally gets collected in full.

And James Robinson get his name in the title with "James Robinson's Wildcats," reprinting his short run on the title.

The retrading of "Transmetropolitan" begins, encompassing the smaller trade paperbacks and prestige format books. Volume 1 begins in March.

Get the complete JMS "Rising Stars" saga, featuring the series, the Fiona Avery mini-series and all those 1/2 issues that made collecting this series such a bugger.

The incredible "100%" series from Paul Pope gets hardcovered.

"Camelot 3000" gets the Deluxe Hardcover Edition treatment.

"Comic Books 101: The History, Methods and Madness" by Chris Ryall and Scott Tipton has contributions from Stan Lee, Harlan Ellison, Mark Waid, Paul Dini, and more - and the patience of Chris Ryall's family.

KRYPTONITE DOOR

[Green Light]Do you work in the comics industry? Would you like to anonymously review your company, add your salary, and see what the general consensus is? Go to Glass Door...

Apparently, a Marvel Network Administrator earns between 52K and 57K.

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]Two months ago, I wrote a review of the upcoming ITV2 superhero sitcom "No Heroics" that the blogosphere went to town with this week when the trailer hit YouTube.

The other day, I read an advertorial for the show in free evening local newspaper "thelondonpaper."

Tell me what you think.

thelondonpaper: A retired superhero, he's a gay, Spanish, alcoholic, knife-wielding ex-heroin addict and, therefore, the more charismatic of the bunch. He mostly uses his ability to work out whose turn it is to buy the drinks.

LITG: James Lance ("Teachers," "Book Group") plays a gay, Spanish, alcoholic, knife wielding ex-heroin addict and the most charming of the bunch. Uses his ability to snort sixty seconds into the future to work out whose round it is.

and possibly

thelondonpaper: The most successful powerful and good-looking man in tights, he's an alpha-male and a bit of a bully-boy.

LITG: Britain's No.1 superhero, alpha male, bully boy and misogynist...

I'm not reading too much into this am I?

I'm going for "flattery" here. Hello ITV2 marketing department! Send something free to the address at the bottom of this column at your convenience... 8-)

And while we're at it...

Praying Mantis

Blue Beetle

Now, when do the dolls action figures come out?

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]When Fantastic Four radio shows go public domain.

CAN YOU REACH?

[Green Light]Top Shelf's Summer $3 Graphic Novel Sale has started. Just when the wind and rain are hitting, excellent.

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. Knowledge of "Dad's Army" would be advantageous.

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:  dcu elementary, rick olney, alan moore, harrods

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