Lying In The Gutters

Mon, November 10th, 2008 at 1:58pm PST | Updated: November 11th, 2008 at 2:33pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 181

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.

THE JOHNSTONING OF COMICS CONTINUES - "lot of guys tracing Yu. it's beginning to annoy the shit out of me. might have to start a swipe file." - Brian Bendis on Twitter,

YES WE COLLECT

[Green Light]Who'd have thought it eh? Who'd have thought it that one day America — America — would elect a President who... you know. I can't believe it myself. A President who... collects "Conan The Barbarian" and "Spider-Man" comics?

Of course was this really the moment for Nick Locking, “Robocop” comics writer and creator of comics message board, The V to create a website allowing you to check.. well… www.haspresidentobamabeenassassinatedyet.com

He’ll get letters. Possibly from the CIA.

ICON MAN

[Green Light]Warren Ellis and Adi Granov are working on a new creator owned title from Marvel's Icon imprint for next year.

THE FAKE ART ADAMS

[Green Light]A very serious scam is being carried on a number of mid-level comics publishers.

Previously, LITG reported on how con artist Josh Hoopes had a scam going where he would show publishers artwork created by major artists, pretending it was his. The publisher would commission him for artwork at a fairly low rate, Josh would then commission the artwork from a different artist at a high rate - and then not pay them. The comic would be published, the artist would find out and demand money that had already been paid to the now elsewhere Josh Hoopes.

The current scam involves a letter sent to a number of mid-level publishers a month ago purporting to be from Art Adams looking for work at a very reasonable (for Art Adams) rate. Remember, this is from The Fake Art Adams:

Hello there..............

Allow me to introduce my self.

my name is Art Adams, comic artist and Illustrator; If you don't know me I have worked on just about every comic title from the X-Men to Batman, and everything in between, (Lol).

I am writting because I have quite a bit of time here in between gigs,, and am offering my artistic talents for contract.

Here is a link to my site; www.artadamsart.com or just go down to your local comic dealer

and better yet buy one of my books.

If interested shoot me an E-mail.

Art Adams, Zoinks!!!

The Fake Art Adams requests a deposit up front, stating that he's been screwed by some publishers in the past. The publisher negotiates a figure with The Fake Art Adam's supposed agent, one “Jeff Henzel.”

The money is paid and then the art arrives. It is clearly not from Art Adams.

Emails used by "Jeff Henzel" and The Fake Art Adams are: adamsarthur@rocketmail.com, cinemagic87@yahoo.com (sometimes with the name Anthony Birch) and crazypens@live.com.

Crazypens is one pseudonym used by Josh Hoopes to scam people on DeviantArt.

Street addresses for "Jeff Henzel" given include 5647 Beauregard Way, Orangevale, CA 95662, which gives a "Does Not Live Here" return, as well as the not-working phone number (916) 529-9394. He then gives 30 Camino Margarita, Nicasio, CA 94946, which is the address of a travel agent.

Anthony Birch also has a DeviantArt account registered with the cinemagic87 email address.

Whether the artists involved get a slice of the money, or get paid nothing, what they know of the situation, I don't know. Jeff Henzel, with a small DeviantArt listing, also states that he represents John Martin with a larger one. Emails to Martin were not returned by press time.

One publisher I spoke to is too embarrassed to publically admit to being scammed in this fashion. Which may just be what The Fake Art Adams is banking on. Of course, publishers do have greater access to lawyers and this publisher will be prosecuting.

Other publishers didn't realise they were being scammed until I got in touch. Some will discover this when they read the article you're reading now.

I also decided to try it out for myself. I emailed the crazypens@aol address, meant to be for "Jeff Henzel" but addressing it to Art Adams, as if I was replying to an e-mail sent to me. I was using the markandrich@gmail.com address I use for my RichAndMark website and the company name from my old self publishing venture fifteen years ago... was this too obvious? Would they twig straight away?

Mr Art Adams,

I very much appreciate the e-mail you sent.

I'd be very interesting in commissioning you for the cover of one of our new comic projects, "Killing Time."

Could you give me any more details? Costs? Schedule?

Mark Andrich
Twist And Shout Comics
London, UK

And yet it was The Fake Art Adams who replied

Well............................

I´m currently finishing up 2 pin-ups for (REMOVED TO SPARE THE PUBLISHER'S BLUSHES).

I´m running things on auto-pilot lately with my agent playing accountant secretary & gig finder. I pretty much have been working on freelance contract with a full advance on what ever page rate we decide on. Jeff is a good friend of mine and helps keep everything fair and in order. I´ve been doing Hulk these days but always have time for other endeavors.

My rates for covers vary, the least I charge is $800 for fully rendered pen and ink all the way to $2000, I don´t expect every company to be able to do that but you would get what you pay for.

Let me know what your budget is and how many pages you are looking at.

Sequential pages I charge $150 for pencils and another $150 for inks on the bases that I do a minimum of 10 pages.

So In any case let me know what your budget is and what your thoughts are, don´t be shy I´m an easy going guy.

Hope to talk soon Art.

Wow. For Art Adams artwork? That is a bargain of the highest order. But possibly not for the Fake Art Adams.

Oh this was getting fun. But could it be any more fun?

Yes. I replied

Wonderful to hear! I've been a big fan of your work ever since Longshot and this is a dream, come true.

We're looking at a cover and twenty-two pages of internal artwork. The first issue is called "Lying In The Gutters" and it involves the story of a gossip columnist in London, tracking down criminals across the world using the Internet.

Would $7000 for everything, pencils and inks, be acceptable? Would you need a deposit up front?

Any chance we could get a sneak peek of the (REMOVED PUBLISHER) pages? As I said I'm a big fan!

Mark Andrich

Surely this was too obvious? After all, Hoopes had already been exposed once by LITG, and it's not as if the column is unknown in the comics industry. Surely someone would twig?

No.

Hey Marc..................

Thanks for the compliments, yea I can give you a sneak peak just don't let the guy´s at REMOVED PUBLISHER know, they my feel a little tiffed about it, but I can show you what I got in tough form blue penciled so far.

As for price that´s fair. I´m going to shoot all this info to my agent Jeff if that all right with you.

As well I work with contract form.

And as a rule of thumb I work with 75% to 50% up front as a deposit. At least that´s how I do it with all the companies I work with, Some companies pay me all up front but I don´t expect that from everyone.

Also Jeff has us working through PayPal as he hndles all finances so I can concentrate on the creative side and not worry about the red tape, or in this matter the green tape.

Sounds all good to me though, I´ll let Jeff know asap and see what he says.

Talk soon and hope we can work together.

Art.

(ARTWORK REMOVED TO REMOVE MORE BLUSHES)

He can't even get my fake name right. At this point I was sorely tempted to pay for one page of pencils for the "Lying In the Gutters" comic immediately, just to see what he would do. And then realised that in all possibility, an artist would draw the piece and not be paid. I couldn't do it. But was a sneaking sense of what was going on starting to penetrate the Fake Art Adams' skull?

By the way how did you get my E-mail??

Then

I´ve been getting some wierd messages lately.

Just being cautious that this is not on of em.

Art.

From "Jeff Henzel" on Anthony Birch's cinemagic87@yahoo.com e-mail

Art recently contacted me regarding a possible art job from you guy´s.

He did respond but has not heard back.

As his representative, I´d like to welcome the chance to work together.

Also Art get´s a lot of false offers, not to say this is one, just being cautious.

I look out for all his artistic endeavors as well.

If you could please send me a confirmation E-mail.

Talk soon.

And, since I used the Twist And Shout Comics name, my self-publishing company from the nineties I set up with Mike Meyer, "Jeff" did some Googling, and found some contact details. He seemed not to twig the "Rich Johnston" aspect of the fact that the site still holds the old "Rich's Ramblings" rumour columns, but e-mailed my old partner Mike Meyer, saying

Hello.................My name is Jeff Henzel and I represent a few different artists in the comic industry big and small, my client Art Adams recently received an e-mail soliciting him to do cover work and Even a 22 page book penciled and inked.

These guys representing your company Twist and Shout asked about time frame and rates, Art replied, they seemed very enthusiastic and sincere with the offer, but after Art sent several messages, as well I have sent messages as follow up we have not heard back.

Art receives countless messages regarding work, some bogus some real, I try and help look out from the flakes to the real deal. Below is the message and reply.

Maybe you can make sense of this, or someone in your company can.

We would be more than happy to venture into a book deal with you guys, but communication is key.

I hope you can shed some light into this.

Sincerely Jeff Henzel

I think he suspects. The cheek of them! Time for a reply! I wrote to the Fake Art Adams,

That's wonderful!

We're talking to the bank tomorrow to get the whole cash sorted. I have to put my house as security, but based on that page you showed me, I know this will be a winner!

Mark Andrich

And then to "Jeff"

I think Art emailed me after I'd gone to bed. What time zone are you, West Coast?

We are all very very keen for Art Adams to contribute towards Lying In The Gutters!

Mark Andrich

And just before the column went live, the Fake Art Adams replied one last time saying

Mark......................

must have been bad timing plus a few fan boys trying to gey me to do wotk for free.

So I´ve been a little weary these days of certain offers.

Any way, just let me know when your ready.

Plus my agent Jeff Henzel takes care of all contract and financial deals.

So if he hasn´t contacted you yet I´m sure he will soon.

Just let me know when your ready.

Art.

Oh I'm ready Fake Art Adams. Are you?

I think he suspects now.

I contacted The Real Art Adams who told me

AAAGH!

Yes, it's a scam. I saw this message about a month ago (passed on to me by Nick Barruci.) I assumed, this being such a small industry, people in publishing would know to contact me to find out if this was crap or not... If people don't already have my info they can find me almost every year at Wonder-Con in San Francisco or Comic-Con in San Diego. Or through Nick or Scott Dunbier. or now...you.

Lying In The Gutters is willing to forward any e-mails to the relevant authorities.

BATSTUFF

[Green Light]So, yes, the cancellation of "Nightwing" and "Robin" hit this week, as LITG predicted, as well as "Birds Of Prey," as not LITG predicted.

I still understand that the first two titles will be replaced by "Red Robin" and "Batman and Robin," as the "Batman" and "Detective Comics" series are replaced by the MorrisonWinnick-written “Battle For The Cowl” series, which now appears to be bi-weekly.

Maybe the rumoured “Bad Girls Of Gotham” starring Harley Quinn and Catwoman will take the place of “Birds Of Prey?”

I do now also hear that there will be a new Batman monthly series to launch later next year, however.

WHO MENTIONS THE WATCHMENSCH...

[Green Light]Yes that’s right, I’ve got a new comic on the go, and you’re going to be subjected to plugs for it, on and off, until it actually comes out. In March. "Watchmensch" from Brain Scan, a nine-panel-grid thematic sequel to "Civil Wardrobe."

Lots more details to come. Press people, feel free to get in touch. But for now, here’s the coloured cover, by Simon Rohrmuller and Matthew Vega.

HARDER, FASTER, STRONGER

[Green Light]Looks like “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow” will be getting the hardcover "Killing Joke" treatment. This will be released at the same time as the hardcover collection of the upcoming Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert “Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader” two issues. Extras are yet to be determined, though you can probably expect them to fix the text on the introduction this time…

As well as these mini-hardcovers, there’s a few Alan Moore massive hardcovers coming up as well. We’ve already plugged the “Captain Britain Omnibus” but can we say “Absolute V For Vendetta?"Absolute Watchmen" is back in print and the first hardcover volume of his "Swamp Thing" is on the way… anyone for an Absolute Promethea printed on its side?

He’s not alone of course. The final hardcover of “Planetary” is scheduled, "Preacher” goes to hardcover

I also understand that the "Compleat Death: Deluxe Edition" hardcover by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo and Mark Buckingham has been cancelled by DC Comics and replaced with a yet-to-be-announced "Absolute Death."

Other points of interest, a ”Torchwood” graphic novel by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, and a collection of J M Dematteis’ “Last One .”

And for those who have been waiting for DC to see sense over the “League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier,” well, they haven’t. And they aren’t going to. But not only do Amazon.com continue to break the embargo with the new paperback edition available worldwide, but so do Amazon.co.uk. It's ridiculous, it really is.

STRAIGHT UP

[Yellow Light]I understand that Vertical Comics, publishers of titles such as Osamu Tezuka’s "Buddha," "MW" and "Blackjack" laid off a number of people last week. And if they don't get new financing, they'll be the next company to hit the skids.

STAYS IN VEGAS

[Green Light]Last week LITG reported on the cancellation and promised resolicitation of "Iron Man Viva Las Vegas" #3.

I understand that writer and "Iron Man" movie writer/director Jon Favreau only provided the first two scripts, and was discouraged from writing more after reading harsh online criticism of the series.

And right now, he's a little busy writing "Iron Man 2."

THE SPECIALS

[Green Light]Special needs, special schools, special Olympics now…

If you find that funny, you’re offensive.

ART FOR ART'S SAKE

[Green Light]The COMICA comic book arts festival starts again this year in association with the Institute of Contemporary Arts and organiser and nexus of all comic book realities, Paul Gravett.

A daylong symposium on archetypes vs stereotypes in comics costing £40?

Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie talking "Lost Girls?"

Dave McKean talking us through his latest works?

Ian Rankin on comics? Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman and Spain in a three way talk? Alex Maleev talks with David Hine?

It's going to be that kind of fortnight... from the 14th to the 26th of November,

ARMY OF SNARKNESS

[Green Light]Last week, LITG reported how Bruce Campbell has refused to sign Dynamite-licensed copies of "Army of Darkness" comics.

Campbell states that he received no likeness rights or approval for the work featuring his image playing the lead, Ash. Campbell also states that Sam Raimi received no payment, the rights to the series being secured from the video distributors of the movies, unlike the Dark Horse Comics adaptations. As a result, he won't sign the Dynamite comics when placed in front of him at signing sessions.

Of course, this has the result that readers who paid sizable sums of money for said autograph, find themselves turned away and out of pocket at the last second.

Well, Dynamite this week sent a whole bunch of "care packages" to their customers who wrote to this column detailing such incidents.

They included James Bragle, Adam Richards and Michael Milstead of Texas, Ben Mullins of Ohio, Derek Burgan, Brandon Mysinger of Tennasee, Phil Wheat of the UK, Don Bernier of Massachusetts, Pascal Ponton and Kraig Alexander of Canada, all being sent parcels by Dynamite.

TENNANT'S EXTRA

[Green Light]So anyway, this weekend I bumped into still-Doctor Who-showrunner Russell T Davies. The Real Russell T Davies. Along with a few hundred other people. Who bought a ticket to a talk. Shush. Anyway, stuff to know:

The next actor to play The Doctor has NOT been chosen yet.

David Tennant's moment of leaving was decided a year ago and removed from the emails in "The Writers Tale." This included betting that David Tennant would win the National Television Award and arranging to make the announcement when he accepted the prize during the interval of Hamlet. Which means the recent LITG rumours of a more recent negotiation have to be rubbish.

Russell T Davies wanted to show Davros walking when the Daleks weren't looking but was shouted down by everybody.

JOHN BYRNE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG

[Green Light]So what is "Marvel Zombies: Supreme Crisis"?

Nothing. It doesn't exist. Unless you're reading Wikipedia. The user Zachary_Zor has created a fake upcoming Marvel event, and seeded Wikipedia with mentions of it. Even my entry is involved, apparently I broke the story of its existence. But everyone from Alan Davis to Mark Millar to Matt Fraction has had their Wikientry amended to support its existence, as well as references to non-existent magazines such as "Amazing Heroes."

So who is user Zachary_Zor???

MO' MONEY

[Green Light]Last week Les Dabel claimed that the Dabel Brothers no longer owed creators any money for work completed. This week, I received e-mails from some still owed money, one of whom is the controversial figure Romulo Soares, who has taken this opportunity to email the Dabels... we'll see how it goes. I seem to be cc'ed in to a number of emails...

In related news, an artist who emailed me complaining that he'd been used to create concept work unpaid for a successfully published comic series from a major publisher, has now e-mailed me to say that after I made a few enquiries, he was contacted by the people responsible who have now made amends.

Gives me a warm glow, it really does.

KICKING EVEN MORE ASS!

[Green Light]John Romita Jr. will be directing an animated sequence in the “KickAss” movie.

A quick check of the script reveals it will be the origin of Big Daddy and Hit Girl (ish) around half way through the film.

Woo!

THE NIPPLES THAT TIME FORGOT

[Green Light]A Gutterite writes to ask, "Hi Rich, I was wondering if you had heard or seen whether Marvel's new Tomb of Dracula Omnibus has the same censorship that was present in the Essential Tomb of Dracula collections of the series. I know that will be the deciding factor for me on whether to buy the book, as I'm sure it is for many other fans. Thanks!"

Ah yes, the art changes detailed in LITG passimhere and here.

At the time, assistant editor Jen Grunwald said, "I'm sorry we may have lost some of you as customers of our Essential line, but I really feel that if there was a story you really wanted and this is the only way to get it, you'll get over losing some nipples."

So, who better to ask for an update? Now-promoted-to-full-editor Jen Grunwald tells LITG, "The rating on the first volume is Parental Advisory (which wasn't the case on the Essentials). The issues he's referring to haven't printed yet, but will be in Volume 2. Currently the plan is to NOT censor as we did with the Essential, keeping the Parental Advisory rating. Of course, I can't guarantee anything until it is printed, but as of now, that's the plan."

It’s the return of the living nipples!!!

ANDY DIGGLE IN TWITTER

[Green Light]

And Time Warp can fuck off, frankly. I'm with Tim Bisley on the whole Rocky Horror thing.

Watching Dave Gibbons on Fox News. Honestly Dave, I thought you had standards.

I lost 3 followers after saying Time Warp could fuck off. That's a worryingly high percentage of Rocky Horror fans.

Holy shit, I'm writing THE AVENGERS. Kind of.

Dear America: This time, please vote for the smart guy. Thank you.

Man, it feels like America just got liberated from an occupying force.

I'm re-writing THUNDERBOLTS # 128, changing "The President" to "President Obama." Feels good.

Well, look what I just stumbled across. Nice of DC to let us know about THE LOSERS movie... http://tinyurl.com/5dhrcp

So VARIETY names the director of THE LOSERS movie. Do Jock and I get a name-check...? http://tinyurl.com/5jyf7k

(EDIT: Not at the time they didn’t but one e-mail later…)

So VARIETY have updated THE LOSERS piece: http://tinyurl.com/6alvql

Attempting to insert porridge into a toddler.

The wise words of Andy Diggle continue to gush forth every few hours… follow him here

ODDS AND SODS

[Green Light]Comic book artist and schoolmate of author Douglas Coupland, Colin Upton, provided the preliminary sketches and historical research for Dougs' recently unveiled War of 1812 sculpture.

Did you all pick up the "Freakangels" TPB last week? Want to know how the story continues? Jump in here.

The Zombie Death Squad starts recruiting...

Alan Moore audio interview where he announces his wish for a new edition of "From Hell," fixing some of the historical inaccuracies since he wrote the book and another installment of Dance of the Gull Catchers to cover the last ten years of Ripper theory.

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 still 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.

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:  barack obama, arthur adams, batman

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