Lying In The Gutters

Mon, September 22nd, 2008 at 1:43pm PDT | Updated: September 23rd, 2008 at 5:07pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 176

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.

ABSOLUTELY-BIZARRE-QUOTE-OF-THE-WEEK: "Here's my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage... "Because if you're pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union -- that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you're pro gay marriage." - Marc Guggenheim on Spider-Man: Brand New Day.

WHO WATCHES THE BATMAN DVDS?

[Green Light]So, how are the "Watchmen" movie legal shenanigans going to shake themselves out? Let Lying In The Gutters give you the exclusive.

Currently the situation has Fox filing suit against Warners and other connected companies over the rights to produce and distribute the upcoming "Watchmen" movie, based on contracts signed a considerable while ago. And it appears that they have a very good case indeed.

But do Fox really want to make a “Watchmen” film of their own? Do they want the money from the Warners “Watchmen” film? Do they want a cut? A payoff? Or just holding up a rival?

None of the above. Sources tell me that Fox want the 1960s Batman TV series. Currently Fox own the TV footage, but Warner Bros own the characters and trademarks, via their ownership of DC Comics. The rights to a DVD release have been held up for a long time now, and this case looks like it may be the instrument to release them.

Oh, Fox will get a wodge of cash as well - many millions of dollars it seems. But it seems they also want the rights to release the Adam West-starring Batman on DVD, something long denied fans of the series. And Warners will get the “Watchmen” film, to release as planned.

There were comic fans who threatened Fox boycotts over what they saw as their scuppering of the Watchmen movie. Looks like they may soon have cause to thank Fox for this action.

LLOYD'S OF LONDON

[Green Light]As well as the original British comic book artwork exhibition I have no doubt bored you with over the last few weeks, the Harrods' "That's Entertainment" promotion also consists of a number of on stage events, with the likes of Geri Halliwell, Michael Parkinson, the "Mamma Mia" stage show... and David Lloyd.

At 6.30pm, September the 29th, co-V-creator Lloyd will take the audience on a ride from the initial concept of "V For Vendetta," through the slow tortuous publication history and its transformation into a blockbuster movie by the Wachowski Brothers. Tickets are free, but if you want one you'd better call 020 7173 6473 now. 60 seats left, as I type this.

As for the exhibition, everyone seems to have been talking it up!

HE'S BLIND, HE WON'T NOTICE

[Green Light]The recent Daredevil Brian Michael Bendis Omnibus featuring Bendis' run of the title had a particularly curious cover element.

Let's take a closer look at Daredevil's face...

I understand that Marvel are shipping replacement dust jacket covers. Ones without a registered trademark boil on Daredevil's nose. Ask your retailer for one if you’ve got the ®-sface version.

Thanks to Josh Kosta for the scan.

SHHH! DON’T TELL!

[Green Light]I understand that “Batman Confidential” has been marked for death…

WARNING LABELS

[Yellow Light]LITG ran a Mid-Week update last week showing the artwork from the original pulped "Action Comics" #869 and the republished version, with the unclear root beer bottle label by Gary Frank with an badly photoshopped "Soda Pop" label over the top (not even the DC Soder Cola brand.) But no one is clear why "DCU: Decisions" #1 was withdrawn, pulped and then reprinted as well as the other books.

The best guess is that someone at DC was unhappy about a comic featuring a suicide bomb threat during September 11th week. But did it really have to be pulped and then reprinted rather than just held a week? Or was the newly added US Navy ad insert enough to demand a full reprinting?

No, I don't understand it either.

Oh, as for "All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder" #10, I hope you sold your copies for $100?-$200 when you could. The prevalence of the comic has seen eBay sales fall to the $15-$30 mark.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

[Green Light]A couple of weeks ago, a creator contacted me about a Front Of Previews publisher who had been refusing them to pay them $3000 they were owed for years. I made enquiries, and suddenly they were on the phone to the creator offering him a cheque for the full amount.

Another creator used an agent for a Front of Previews publisher without being paid. This column has got the creator and agent talking again, and I hope an accord can be reached.

On the other hand, a creator who posted online about discovering his book was cancelled by a Front Of Previews publisher in this column was recently informed he will now never get work from that publisher again.

It's not always a nice world.

GETTING A REACTION

[Green Light]Comics creator Thorsten Ebert who, among many comics projects drew the cover to "The Flying Friar," was hit back a truck back in March. He's recently in recovery from a resulting coma.

Moonstone are publishing his comic written by Justin Gray, "Psychotic Reaction," with all proceeds going to Thorsten and his family to help them and help Thorsten's recovery.

Michael has the best job in the world. Not only does he get paid to play video games, but he also gets to test new games before they hit the open market. When the International entertainment giant, Brain Thrust, approaches him with an offer to test a cerebral chip for transmitting data directly into the human brain that enables a person to play video games in which they smell, taste and perhaps even feel things, it is an offer he can't refuse. But when the line between reality and the game begin to blur and people start dying, Michael finds himself at the center of a terrifying conspiracy.

48 pages, black and white, $4.99.

"Psychotic Reaction" is available with the Diamond Order Code SEP084201 from your local comic shop. Order a copy this week. I will be.

Retailers, if you could do your bit, a few copies for the shelf with maybe a little bit of hand-selling, I know some people who would be very happy. Thank you.

PAT BRODERICK TALKS ABOUT... EVERYTHING

[Green Light]Seventies, eighties and nineties industry artist Pat Broderick has been talking about his career over at Comicon and... boy. Here's a few quotes.

"I landed the Iron Fist job from Marvel and moved back to Tampa where I then lost the job to John Byrne. Who says that I told the editor that my cat ate the art, which was wrong John, although you’ll insist otherwise, I told him correctly that the cat had destroyed the pages Actually he took a dump on them then tried to use what he shredded to cover it up with."

...

"I landed the Micronauts job and stayed on that title until Jim Shooter drove me away. Jim used to love to fuck with certain people while he was editor and chief. And Basically told me over a conference call with myself and Weezy, my editor that he didn’t care how well the title was selling I would never get a raise while he was there."

...

"At the time my youngest son Ryan had developed a very serious, life threatening medical condition and the major medical coverage which DC offered to all contracted freelancers actually turned out to be a 30,000 dollar family policy. When I pointed this out the DC’s upper management they actually tried to use my son’s illness and a promise of a better policy as a negotiation point for extending my contract another four years."

...

"my all time best series. Doom 2099. All most 3 years later and the world was just fine. Until that British ass hole writer came on board and decided he would change everything that we’d had laid in place. So he got me removed from the series after we had a heated run in. And to my satisfaction the series was cancelled after only five more issues."

...

"I’m currently finishing the grading on my own students work plus turning in my own projects for my bachelor degree. I guess at the age of 55 I’m still pretty busy. But you haven’t seen nothing yet. My property,T-Rex is being seriously looked at by a couple of publishers at this time. And if you want to see some of the art then go to www.visionarypress.com and check out the work."

PRE-PRESSED

[Green Light]So, in the wake of the pulping of "A**** S*** Batman And Robin The Boy W******" #10 and "Action Under The Influence Comics" #869 and "What The Hell Was Wrong With DCU Decisions Apart From The Obvious" #1 all in one week, just who is DC going to be holding responsible? A quick look at DC's website reveals a DC Nation column from last year, proudly boasting of the actions of the fifteen strong DC's Pre-Press team vigilant in their actions, and dedicated to stopping, well, this kind of thing.

I wonder why he's hiding?

TROUBLE DOWN T’FOUNDRY

[Green Light]This is the cover to the Politics issue for Comics Foundry, out shortly.

Don’t they look angry. But a quick flip…

There. A bit better.

SPECULATORS CORNER

[Green Light]Everyone is scrambling to get a copy of the new "Deadpool" #1. Caught a lot of people by surprise - including me!

"All Star Superman" has been popular with speculators, with early issues hanging in the walls at marts for significant but not astronomical mark ups. Well that might change. With its conclusion, and the analysis being brought to the series as a whole, it's starting to gather the nomenclature "The New Watchmen." And we all know what happened to the old "Watchmen."

WHO'S WATCHING THE WATCHMEN NOW?

[Yellow Light]The announcement of a sixth, very non-Douglas Adams "HitchHikers Guide To The Galaxy" novel, "And Another Thing," plus talk of the standard contractual clause in the "Watchmen" movie contracts for a sequel have got me thinking.

DC own "Watchmen" as long as it remains in print. At the time of signing, comics didn't stay in print and all parties believed the rights would revert to Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore. That didn't happen. And, clearly, well never happen.

So why hasn't there been a sequel? Initially it was clear that DC didn't want to piss Alan Moore off too much - there was always the chance of a reconciliation. DC bought Wildstorm and a turbulent relationship was more or less mollified through the tireless work of Scott Dunbier, until the end when it fell apart. Moore and DC talked about a "Watchmen" 15th Anniversary project including a toyline, until disagreements over the "Tomorrow Stories" #8 line scuppered that. But there was always the possibility this might change.

The “V For Vendetta” movie situation, and Moore's decision to speak out on matters and being quoted by the mainstream press, was a sea change in this relationship. DC have an institutional allergy of publicity, especially anything that may paint themselves or business partners in a poor light. And they started to make decisions that bordered on the personal. The botched publication of “The Black Dossier,” especially its Absolute iteration, seems to have been the final straw. Moore has even cut off senior figures he had remained friendly with at DC. No one can see any way to unburn bridges now.

And DC still own “Watchmen.”

While some may be loath to right now, at some point, someone backed by beancounters will say "let's publish a sequel."

It will happen. The only question is when. Who has to leave DC for it to happen? Who will leave DC when it happens? And will Dave Gibbons draw the cover?

DOCTORS AND PREACHERS

[Green Light]All right, who's the geek on BBC's "Casualty?" From last Monday's episode, in the hospital, during a riot:

BLOKE: Hey, I read those comics

BIRD: Graphic novels

BLOKE: Graph yeah... I really liked Preacher

BIRD: Oh it's great.

BLOKE: Really dark.

BIRD:There's talk of a film you know.

BLOKE: That'd be good...

The episode was written by series lead writer Mark Catley.

Okay, Mark, now get a reference to Arseface in there.

MOUSE OVER

[Green Light]When advertising goes awry…

Squeak!

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]From Marvel’s Embrace Change campaign

From Microsoft’s Clip Art File

ODDS AND SODS

[Green Light]Reader shocked by Mark Millar's penis.

Tony Lee and Gary Russell are signing copies of their respective IDW Doctor Who comics - which technically shouldn't available in the UK, at Orbital Manga this Saturday at 2pm.

Tony Lee and Bevin Musson's new graphic novel, "Journal: A Graphic Romance" for AiT/PlanetLar get previewed.

Bendis Vs Kirkman at Baltimore Comic-Con this weekend. Saturday, 2:45pm, Image Comics Presents Kirkman/Bendis Unblogged... "It began with a simple open letter on the future of comics. It has turned into one of the hottest issues on comic blogs today. Join Robert Kirkman and Brian Michael Bendis as they bring their "Feud" face to face!"

Anyone twittering this one?

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.

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:  watchmen, batman, batman confidential, daredevil

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