Lying In The Gutters

Mon, October 20th, 2008 at 12:58pm PDT | Updated: October 20th, 2008 at 2:46pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 180

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.

FORT KNOCKS

[Red Light]The recent Fort Wayne Diamond Retailers Summit exhumed a very old rumour. In the bar, a number of Alliance Games and Diamond Comics Distribution employees (they are all part of the Geppi empire) were discussing their mutual concerns over future employment, in the light of current economic upturns.

Specifically that DC Comics are to exercise their long-standing option to buy Diamond Comics Distribution (and Alliance along with it), as contractually agreed to back in 1995 and revealed at the time by "The Comics Journal."

This possibility comes up every now and then, without actually coming to anything. But this time it seems their employees are actively talking about it.

WATCHING THE ENDING

[Green Light]There have been repeated reports circulating the net regarding the ending of Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen" movie that the ending has been radically changed from the original. We’re not talking everyone wearing Rorschach’s mask or anything, but the perceived and bizarre extra-world threat of a pan dimensional Cthulhu god alien landing on New York killing millions is gone.

Or has it?

I understand that the ending people have been seeing is just one possible filmed ending. That the movie’s FX farm has already created big squid effects. And that there will be more than one ending of the film tested before general release. Expect to see all of them in the two/three disc DVD.

ZUDA ALLES

[Yellow Light]Regarding last week's story about Zuda's expansion into animation and Wildstorm/Vertigo projects...

Firstly, Zuda Creative Director Ron Perazza twittered, "Meeting about animation, comics and some other good stuff. The next few weeks/months are going to be interesting."

“Night Owl" creator Pete Timony retwittered, "WHAT? After I absolutely sort of but didn't but might have said something about certain rumors?!?" with Perazza's response "Rumors? :)"

I'm told Greg Noveck is the go-to-guy dealing with the Zuda/Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. relationship.

I also hear the first Wildstorm-produced Zuda comic will be "Bioshock 2." Almost in confirmation, Ron Perazza twittered earlier today, “Back in the office working on a project for a video game."

However, Dan DiDio is dead set against running any DC Universe content online, as he believes it will dilute the published brand. As you may expect, there's a degree of debate about this, with Paul Levitz on the opposing side. Especially considering the amount of recent and upcoming cancelled DC books and a moratorium on mini-series, with already-approved projects suddenly spiked.

Marvel is also courting a number of Zuda people, so expect DC to fight back and recruit existing well-known webcomic people and Marvel to start signing exclusive contracts for digital.

The 2009 battle for talent may well be online, and to do better than their print equivalents.

BLIND ITEMS

[Green Light]Sometimes the comics industry is full of stories that need telling — just with the serial numbers filed off. And after a certain amount of time has passed…

Which two comic creators ended up in a fist-and-bottle fight at a San Diego Comic Con bar this year after one made suggestive comments and actions towards the other’s wife and niece as the bar staff summoned the constabulary? And which other creator fainted at the sight of the blood, requiring a trip to hospital in a taxi over a broken jaw because the creator didn’t have the insurance to pay for an ambulance?

Which executive gave an artist a phenomenal amount of work over the last two years so that the executive may woo a colleague and partner of the artist, in a manner rather reminiscent of the biblical tale of David and Uriah?

Which creator jumped another creator on the floor of San Diego Comic Con this year over an affair of the heart involving a third creator, again requiring police presence?

Sex and violence. Who said comics were for kids?

LONDON KICKING

[Green Light]The “Kick Ass" film hits Olde London Town! Here’s a couple of actors playing some of Kick Ass’s “heavies," at Orbital Comics picking up copies of the comic to check out exactly what they’re meant to be doing. There was lots of “that’s you… that’s me" going on…

Kenneth Simmons and Mark UnknownSurname there!

FLAT BRISTOLS?

[Yellow Light]So what’s up with next years Bristol Comics Expo Convention? According to the website, it’s not in the Old Railway Building next year, but located solely in the Ramada… not much room for... well not much.

Ouch.

I’m at the Dublin Con end of November by the way.

KIRK'S BACK

[Green Light]No, I don't mean the Gerry Anderson slashfic “Entertainment Weekly" cover.

With the cancellation of “Manhunter" from DC Comics, expect the Kate Spencer character to join the Outsiders for a period. And the return of the Paul Kirk Manhunter character.

PETER DARE

[Green Light]Peter Milligan was to have written the next “Dan Dare" volume for Virgin and had written the first two issues. I understand he’s been fighting to get paid for a while, and recently resolved the matter.

There do still seem to be a number of unpaid Virgin creators out there, though.

SLASH BACK

[Green Light]LITG covered the ins and out of the Hack/Slash/Re-Animator debacle a few weeks ago, with Devil's Due choosing to self distribute the issues that Diamond Comics Distribution were legally advised not to touch.

So how successful have retailers been at ordering copies? One reader reports that "My LCS (local comic shop) told me this morning that they ARE NOT getting the disputed issues of HACK/SLASH . A high ranking executive at Diamond has a ‘financial interest’ in my LCS!!!!!"

Oh to be a lawyer in comics. Meanwhile I have reports of shops unable to use the Devil’s Due website to order the copies they wish. If you do have problems, email Brian Warmoth at bwarmoth@devilsdue.net.

It’s not easy being a self-distributor.

"Hack/Slash" #18 will be back to normal distribution methods. Good, The Flying Friar appears in one scene (far left).

BUFFY THE SCHEDULE SLAYER

[Green Light]“Buffy The Vampire Slayer's" new schedule - Issue #19, November 26, Issue #20, December 17, Issue #21, January 7 and from then on staking a claim to the first Wednesday/Thursday of every month.

“Staking a claim"… I crack myself up.

MUSIC TO MY EYES

[Green Light]I've been a bit slack working on comics this year. A second child will do that to you.

But I seem to have a short story in the upcoming anthology from Image Comics, "This Is A Souvenir: The Songs Of Spearmint & Shirley Lee" out in January. My first front-of-Previews comics credit.

But what is more cause for personal celebration is that the story is drawn, coloured and lettered by a man whose work I have admired for fifteen years, the co-creator, artist and writer for the "Sleaze Castle," "Petra Etcetera" and "Surreal School Stories" comics and books, Terry Wiley. Currently lettering for "Classic Comics," Wiley's style is slice-of-life cartoony with strong sense of spatial awareness, character and detail, with an ability to translate all sorts of styles and designs into something very British, very familiar, very funny, very Wiley-ey. Paul Grist via Posy Simmonds. The Enid Bugblyton Beast of Traal.

"Sleaze Castle" was one of the best British comics of all time, and that it is mostly forgotten is a tragedy. Maybe we can start turning that around.

Spearmint is a British band I have fond memories of listening to on London's indie station XFM pretty much on constant rotation. Given the option to write a song inspired by their music I jumped straight on "Trip Into Space" from "A Week Away" and wrestled it from everyone else. The graphic anthology will be released to coincide with their new album,

So anyway. Here's the first page. Enjoy.

AND THE REST

[Green Light]A page from Terry Wiley's "Petra Etcetera" appears in the Harrods Original Comic Art Exhibition, "Comic Timing" alongside the usual "Watchmen," "Judge Dredd," "All Star Superman" and "Tale Of One Bad Rat." The show continues until October the 28th and is still getting press which is nice. If you're around London, love comics and have a spare hour, you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you miss it!

A KISS IS JUST A LEGAL LETTER

[Green Light]An Argentinian photomontage entitled "The Greatest and most beautiful and most heroical love story of all time" by Mauro Guzman is under threat as a Catholic lawyer has demanded that the mayor of Rosario withdraw it from the Castagnino Museum. The piece won the top prize at the Buenos Aires art fair last year.

It's Jesus kissing Superman everyone.

IT'S REIGNING CARD STOCK COVERS

[Yellow Light]So what do we know about "Dark Reign," the next Marvel cross-branding exercise sure to bring on a sense of ennui in fans as they say "$3.99? Again? Dammit, I'm going to have to knock over a liquor store to afford this."

Well, amidst the Bad Guys Illuminati-style shenanigans, we have Punisher as a hero hunter, targeting the likes of Sentry, Mighty Avengers with a number of unregistered heroes on its books, and a bunch of fans in a tizzy with last week's Moon Knight having SHIELD Agents refer to Norman Osborn as "director" - until they realised Osborn is director of Thunderbolts.

Damn, that was a rather fun idea. Definitely worth knocking over a liquor store for.

EARLY NIGHT

[Green Light]"Absolute Sandman 4," the last humungous collection of the Sandman series, is available from 5th of November. Unless you went to a comic shop in the UK last week, where all shops had copies on sale for precisely 24 hours until the word came out from Diamond to put them into storage until the official release date.

Most did, some didn't. A few had already sold out of all their copies.

This happened with "Absolute Sandman 3" to a more limited degree. Down to surface shipping taking less time than expected apparently.

If you didn't get a copy, dream on until November…

ELEVEN? THAT'S NUMBERWANG!

[Green Light]Last week's story naming Paterson Joseph as the prime suspect for the eleventh Doctor Who for 2011 caused all sorts of fuss.

All I'm saying is that after publishing I received information that made the story more likely, not less.

And a wonderfully phrased non-denial denial was published by Den Of Geek from Paterson's agent stating, "If Paterson had the part, it would have come through us, so I think that's a no."

If I were you, I'd bet on black. Here's Paterson's "audition" for the role of The Doctor from Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere"

CHEWING HIM OUT

[Green Light]Jon Layman and Rob Guillory's new comic "Chew"... check out Rob's blog for more.

BUSH WHACKED

[Green Light]Take a sneak preview of the new "Lucky Luke" volume. it appears the villain of the piece will be one George W Bush. How very 2006.

There's also a new “Asterix" volume for the character's 50th anniversary next year, by original artist Uderzo. He's already done Bush, so maybe at least Asterix can move on.

HEY KIDS! COMICS!

[Green Light]Last Monday, DC Comics held a "bring your child to work day." I understand it was quite a success... as long as you didn't mind a few broken toys or statues...

In celebration, December brings us a "Buy Your Daughter A Supergirl Comic Without Feeling Skeevy Day."

GLAMOUR SHOTS

[Green Light]Images and cover from Dave Sim's "Glamourpuss" #5.

Last time I ran these, people started pointing out the swipes.

Kind of missing the point of "Glamourpuss," no?

BITS AND BOBS

[Green Light]24 Hour Party People? David Gallaher, Peter Timony, Danielle Coseto, Josh Adams, Bobby Timony, Tom Chu and Ulises Farines, make 24 hour comics at Jim Hanley’s

This week's compulsory mention of "No Heroics" — an hour after we linked to the unseen behind-the-scenes geek reference tour, LITG caused this hit count...

The hit count of the beast there I think. Everyone loves a little LITG action these days.

And everyone can find something to like about “No Heroics."

SMALL PRINT

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.

I'm eBaying odds and sods here. My social networking is pretty much all Facebook and Twitter these days, but I'm around at Bebo, MySpace, ComicSpace, too.

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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:  diamond comics distributors, zuda comics, dan dare, watchmen, kick-ass

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