Lying In The Gutters

Mon, January 5th, 2009 at 1:28pm PST | Updated: January 6th, 2009 at 4:18pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 191

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 and could do with stamping on. Amber indicates I think there is a bias involved in the telling 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. But it's still quite possibly wrong.

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

QUOTE OF THE YEAR: “Chiwetel Ejiofor (8-1). Middle England might just about accept a black Doctor, but they certainly won't accept one they can't pronounce. Hartnell! Troughton! Pertwee! Baker! Davison! Baker! McCoy! McGann! Eccleston! Tennant! Eji… Ejoili… Ej… oh, **** it, let's just hire Matt Smith instead." – Lawrence Miles, November 3rd, 2008.

A SCOTSMAN IN LA

[Yellow Light]A Gutterati writes…

“A good friend tells me he sold his LA condo to a ‘comics writer from Scotland who's working on the new Batman movie.’ Said condo is directly across from a hotel where the writer and his girlfriend previously stayed when he came to town. (I think it was the Standard Hotel in Downtown L.A.) I doubt the Batman movie bit, and the guy didn't know the exact name of the writer, but the gaps are pretty easy to fill in."

An interesting piece of information, I'll grant you.

TWUE BELIEVER

[Green Light]The presenter of last week's fictional Ninth Annual Rumour Awards, Jonathan Ross, is writing comics.

What's the betting it's for Marvel?

DOOMED STORY

[Green Light]The Rumour Awards mentioned the "Doom Patrol" comic by Grant Morrison that was never drawn or published. Brendan McCarthy dug out the script with his doodlings, a DC "Imaginary Story" starring Danny The Street.

Maybe it will see the light again?

See more at The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy.

LEAGUE OF LETTERS

[Green Light]Another brief glimpse of the 1910 chapter of “The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century" from Todd Klein

“Century" will be available from Top Shelf in the US and Knockabout in the UK in April.

The solicitation reads:

The new volume detailing the exploits of Miss Wilhelmina Murray and her extraordinary colleagues, "Century" is a 240-page epic spanning almost a hundred years. Divided into three 80-page chapters - each a self-contained narrative to avoid frustrating cliff-hanger delays between episodes - this monumental tale takes place in three distinct eras, building to an apocalyptic conclusion occurring in our own, current, twenty-first century. Chapter one is set against the backdrop of London, 1910, twelve years after the failed Martian invasion and nine years since England put a man upon the moon. In the bowels of the British Museum, Carnacki the ghost-finder is plagued by visions of a shadowy occult order who are attempting to create something called a Moonchild, while on London's dockside the most notorious serial murderer of the previous century has returned to carry on his grisly trade. Working for Mycroft Holmes' British Intelligence alongside a rejuvenated Allan Quartermain, the reformed thief Anthony Raffles and the eternal warrior Orlando, Miss Murray is drawn into a brutal opera acted out upon the waterfront by players that include the furiously angry Pirate Jenny and the charismatic butcher known as Mac the Knife.

This is also the year that Alan Moore gets archived… may I recommend the revised "The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore," "Saga Of The Swamp Thing" HC Volume 1, "Captain Britain" Omnibus, paperback "Voice Of The Fire", single volume "Lost Girls" HC, "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow" HC, and Absolute “V For Vendetta."

FOR ROB GET SMASH

[Green Light]Rob Liefeld puts out a "SMASH! Extreme!" #0 re-printing of Smash's previous appearances by Jeph Loeb and Liefeld from Image in April.

Rob says, "This will contain a new story which frees Smash! from his bonds and lead into the multi=part SMASH! storyline told in a series of specials pitting SMASH! against the Extreme universe.

"Then in May, we get ‘Smash! Brigade’ from Marat Mychaels..."

"...and ‘Smash! Youngblood,’ ‘Smash! Prophet’ and ‘Smash! Supreme’ to follow through the year."

So there you go.

NEW DRINKS BRAND HAS REACH

[Green Light]Are you a cosplayer? Do you know someone who cosplays? Do you think what they really need in life is yet another dose of caffeine?

"Tentacle Grape" is a new soda drink from Mnemosyne.

Bloody hell.

Hmmm.

Okay, I'll try a bottle.

Apparently six packs come with either free bumper stickers or condoms. Tentacle sized, I hope.

UPDATE: Order your bottles here.

PWNED BY NEIL GAIMAN

[Green Light]

So, yes, I'd been claiming that Paterson Joseph was the next Doctor Who for months and then what happens? Matt Smith gets it. Time for a rumour autopsy.

I was first told in October that Paterson Joseph was the new production team's favoured choice from a very good source whom I have no reason to doubt. Of course, at that point, there hadn't actually been auditions or anything. Later that week I was made aware that there was also lobbying for Paterson from some senior people involved with the series. Things were looking good. And a few days later Paterson Joseph was the bookies’ favourite. Top of the world, ma!

Then later in November I was told by another source, with a strong chain to the top, that Paterson had been offered the role and had accepted. And that barring any contractual negotiations, the job was his. It felt right, the link was good, I made a bet with Irish bookies PaddyPower (odds were now 14:1) and ran the story, nuts deep. PaddyPower suddenly pulled the market, as if they'd had a tip off. It all seemed to fit. But clearly the chain wasn't as good as my gut said... or it had been tampered with.

There was lots of speculation online and in the press about other choices, but nothing that really challenged my original story. Until the day before the announcement, and Matt Smith was suddenly and without precedent, the favourite at Betfair. Now, Betfair is an online betting service allowing punters to both lay and bet for outcomes at various odds, accurately redefining the market second by second. It is possible to get a lot of publicity by making something a favourite with a few hundred pounds placed at with Betfair the right time. So my instinct was that Matt Smith's agent had made the bet, hell, a lot of actors had got publicity for this story with far more spurious connections.

And then two hours before the announcement, I got a call from a trusted friend and actual journalist, Craig McGill, who told me that Matt Smith was a lock. It looks like various bookies had received a lot of bets the previous night, possibly from people in the know, their family and friends. And the episode of “Doctor Who Confidential" that would announce Matt Smith was going through the process of being readied for air, the story was obviously starting to slip. Craig asked me to wait an hour, so he could try and get a bet on (and failed), and an hour before the show started, I twittered Matt Smith as the definite choice.

I got all sorts of plaudits for that, but still think that being wrong for two months doesn't really make up for being right for an hour. As Neil Gaiman so nicely pointed out.

Oh well, at least they didn’t cast a woman.

Tomorrow I go to Harrods and ask if they can make me a humble pie. Nom nom nom.

At least I put my money where my crow-eating mouth was. Even if the surrounding area is now covered with egg.

The real winners? PaddyPower. Who took bets for months, and never offered Matt Smith as a possibility.

The moral of this story? The house always wins. And never bet on black.

AS FOR MR SMITH

[Green Light]Now I know how my Dad felt when they cast Peter Davison. Youth should be no barrier to the part, of course, as Matt Smith was rather good in “Party Animals" and the Phillip Pullman adapted Billie Piper vehicles “Ruby In The Smoke" and “Shadow Of The North." Steven Moffat, the new showrunner and head writer of “Doctor Who," says that he was intending to cast someone in their forties (Paterson Joseph is forty-five everyone... sorry, I'll shut up), but then Matt Smith blew him away at the auditions.

I'm looking forward to the thousand year Doctor in the body of a 27 year old man. But he does look a little like Frank Quitely drew Flock Of Seagulls, no?

We Trust In Moffat.

Also, Matt Smith went to the same school as Alan Moore. And he has the same name as the editor of “2000AD." That's got to be good.

Here’s an earlier interview that the British papers have been strip-mining.

AND WHERE NOW JOSEPH?

[Green Light]To quote Neil Gaiman a few weeks ago... "I mean, he is thrilled by the ‘Doctor Who’ rumours, but I think mostly thrilled because it’s suddenly taken him from an actor who nobody really quite knew who he was, you’d have to say, ‘Well, he was the guy in the Numberwang sketch, or he was the guy from Peepshow, or he was…’ to people going, ‘Yes, Paterson Joseph, he could be the next Doctor Who,’ and so it’s done amazing things for him."

He'll probably be in Series Two of "Survivors" now (wasn't it nice of the BBC to give him an out, just in case?) and there's "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency"... but the attention places on him of late should be good for a US TV series somewhere or even big budget movies.

I'll want 10%, of course.

Sigh. I think I'll go watch "Neverwhere" again.

WHAT WERE YOU TWITTERING WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED MATT SMITH?

[Green Light]RichJohnston: not joseph. Tell you who in an hour
Chris_Hunter: NOT Joseph?! Man, I was hoping it'd be him
PraxJarvin: Say it ain't so!
idsharman: Not Joseph? Really? Oooohhh
RichJohnston: Matt Smith is the Eleventh Doctor
tenge: Please say you're kidding or that you're just guessin'! PLEASE!
RichJohnston: Congratulations to the BBC/Team Moffat for keeping Matt Smith a secret so long
chudleycannons: Did you pimp out Paterson Joseph, knowing that Smith would win, so you could make more money off of betting on Smith?
RichJohnston: No. I bet nothing on Smith. But in the last 24 hours, it looks like some friends and family did. Bookies have closed on him
purplesnap: really? Didn't even know he was in the running
davidalexanderm: Is it just me, or is this actually anti-climactic?
andydiggle: What, the editor of 2000AD?
DivaLea: awwww, I really liked Paterson Joseph
RichJohnston: Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, in his best known role - http://tinyurl.com/mattsmithistheleventhdoctor
hectorlima: what a blah choice. hope your source is wrong
comixace: WHO is WHO? WHO is WHO?
RichJohnston: Matt Smith is Who. And he's on eleventh
Gservo: man this is killing me
RichJohnston: "The youngest Doctor ever" - David Tennant
warrenellis: I am the new Doctor Who
RichJohnston: You have to be able to run. Also you have to be 26 years old, according to Moffat
warrenellis: Give me a bucket of Nurofen Plus and some of that fine BBC cocaine and I'll run like David Tennant all bloody day
RichJohnston: It is official... Matt Smith... confirmed... NOW!
MartGray: Spot on, nice one Rich!
cracksh0t: Hmph... well, I guess I will trust the makers of the show, as they have done a good job so far. But a Doctor younger than me seems wrong
RichJohnston: YOU ARE OLD. WE ARE ALL OLD. THIS IS THE FINAL PROOF.
Paul Cornell: is delighted for Matt Smith, and is sure he'll make a wonderful Doctor
RichJohnston: Who'd have thought it? Pwned by Neil Gaiman - http://tinyurl.com/92r3u9
TomBrevoort: Maybe you could post his first script an hour before it airs
RichJohnston:That would be mean. And wrong. Anyway, I have to post the Kick Ass movie script first.
Leah Moore: v. pleased to see new Who is a Northampton boy...all the best folk are you know...maybe the BBC need a young writer with local knowledge!

REACTION TO LAST WEEK'S NINTH ANNUAL RUMOUR AWARDS

[Green Light]Since I'm in a self-imollating mood...

TheTravis!: That was fucking unreadable.
Josh Hechinger: Late LitG worth it just for the Halo Jones joke.
Philip Clark: Which I simply found unweadable...
Hannibal Tabu: This year's Rumor Awards has to be one of the best things you've ever written. Hilarious. I'm still ignoring Watchmensch.
Grandmaster Funk: Yeah I don't really like his end of the year column.
DeepSouth Z:Really enjoyed this weeks LITG. I'm still laughing at bits of it
Jim T: Unreadable. I'm only slightly aware of who Jonathan Ross is - is that they way he talks or something?
bloodstained2001: WONDERFUL rumor awards! Completely WONDERFUL! I was laughing my arse off!
Shadowline Pimp: Oh man...I feel like I just read the first volume of a really dry, droll Encyclopedia. He could have done that in a humorous way that was more accessible to readers throughout the world. He did not.
Chris Ullrich: I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. Excellent work.
Dave Cummings: That sucked. I think I got less that 1/4 through it before I gave up on it.
Kefky: I don't care what anyone says, I love seeing people's reactions to this every goddamn year.
Thomas Mauer: Way too fucking long.
KevinO: Phew, that was a long one! It was good, but the vewwy elmer fudd got a bit draining after a while...
Jim Ohara: I made it about a third in and then realized I just didn't care. Sometimes less is more Rich.
Frank Saint: That was just one long bad joke. Totally a waste of time

There'll be another one next year. The Tenth! Hmmm... I wonder if I can actually do it for real...

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]Thanks to Aldo for these...

Carlos Pacheco on the left... Jim Starlin on the right.

And Rob Liefeld...

...takes a fence right out of John Byrne's "Man Of Steel"

"Dream City"

"The Spirit"

ODDS AND ENDS

[Green Light]For the omnipotent deity in your life. Buy two of three pairs for when he splits bodies.

IS Wally West getting a new ID now that Barry Allen is The Flash again? A while back, Ethan Van Sciver did say that "I'm redesigning Wally West's costume right now, and it's terrifying." And while most of the “Dark Avengers" lineup seems obvious now... Wolverine - Daken, Hawkeye - Bullseye, Spider-Man - Venom, Captain Marvel - Marvel Boy, Ms Marvel – Moonstone, Ares, and Sentry - unless he's The Void...is Iron Patriot actually Norman Osborn as expected - or could it be Luke Cage?

I did like the attempts to hide the slightly hide Daken Wolverine's two claws though.

Dan Slott Vs The Internet Again.

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 but moving more and more things over to Amazon Marketplace. 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:  rob liefeld, league of extraordinary gentlemen: century, doctor who

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