Lying In The Gutters

Mon, February 23rd, 2009 at 1:58pm PST | Updated: February 23rd, 2009 at 3:33pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 198

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.

LIVE FROM LECESTER SQUARE

[Green Light]

Reporting from the world premiere of "Watchmen" in London's Leicester Square, Rich Johnston with friend of LITG and new Slashfilm writer, Brendon Connelly. Pictures, as and when they come in...

Taken on the commute to work this morning...
an omen perhaps?
Oh, a definite sign!
Brendon taking my place there, I feel. This is where the magic happens.
Rorschach in hiding. That is a very yellow carpet.
Holy Moly! That's his website, Holy Moly. Honest. Marc PR's the crowd.
Dave!Carlos!
Dave Watchmen Gibbons, ladies and gentlemen, as erudite as ever. Not the smartest cameraman in the world.
Peter Serafinowicz and Sarah Alexander...
but who is the most excited??
Slightly better job there.
Ready to catch a microphone, mid-flight? The steady gaze of Rorschach made us miss Jonathan Ross
and Mark Millar as they steamed by! Damn it!
Ah well...
Look at that jaw! That is a jaw and a half! So many microphones, so little time.
I'm never going to hear the song "Hallelujah" in the same way again. Look at all the columns. The columns, I said. look at the columns.
And time for the cars to pick up all those who want to walk the yellow carpet... but not actually watch the film.


The event looked spectacular, Yellow carpet, big columns, lots of Watchmen ephemera, live graffiti, and a big crowd. Rorschach in the crowd got given entrance to the premiere (bless) as did two lucky people who texted a number at the right moment. Ed Byrne, Dara O'Brien, the Easyjet guy were also spotted but were too fast for my camera. There was much joy and tomfoolery. And I actually get to see the film on Wednesday.

There will be video later... Brendon is working on a Slashfilm video premiere/review tonight/tomorrow/depending. But he'll also be cutting a special Lying In The Gutters version exclusive to this site...

LOSING PEOPLE

[Yellow Light]

I understand that mid-March, DC staffers are expecting a second wave of redundancies. Two or three mid-level editors and a few in advertising sales.

Yeah, advertising's a bitch right now, I'm right in the middle of it. My sympathies to all similarly affected.

WING MAN

[Green Light]

Mark Waid goes to bat for Grant Morrison against DC Comics. He writes;

"The 'net hate over [Final Crisis] is unlike anything I've seen in a long, long time, and it's only fueled by the fact that DC editorial staffers were making fun of Grant in public ON THE NYCC DC PANEL, which is really reprehensible and unprofessional behavior. Really, you'd think Grant had somehow Destroyed DC Comics. I'm cranky about it on Grant's behalf, because I generally believe that hate and vitriol should be reserved for people who deliberately try to do you harm, not people who try and sometimes fail to entertain you."

Indeed Mark, indeed.

WING MEN

[Yellow Light]

Thanks to Kyle Baker's tongue-in-cheek interview on Comicon, it looks like the weekly series to follow "Trinity" is "Wednesday Comics." From that title, and from Kyle's description of his "Hawkman" story from it, we could surmise a possibly open ended weekly series, featuring a range of DCU stories from a range of creators, almost iconic, without a necessary narrative thread from arc to arc, that doomed "Countdown." It also suggests a "Marvel Comics Presents" style book with multiple stories in each issue.

Of course, we get our comics on Thursday in the UK. I wonder if they'll sticker the cover?

LESS VIEWS

[Green Light]

More Diamond distribution casualties to report, as the new minimum order amounts take down several lines and titles.

First up is "Harker" by Roger Gibson and Vince Dennis from Arial Press (art above.) It's had its Diamond distribution cancelled after issue one shipped. Solicitations already printed for issues two and three will not be filled by Diamond.

The creative team, currently working on issue 5 are considering whether to continue the monthly series with Haven Distribution, or approach Diamond with a six issue sized graphic novel of the edgy police procedural series.

Although are larger volumes, even with a higher price point, that safe?

The "Manga Shakespeare As You Like It," "Othello," and "Richard III" from Adams are gone, as is the "Laugh Out Loud Cats" HC. From Cinebook, we've lost the first volume of the "Pandora Box" graphic novel series, volume two of "Bluecoats" and volume 3 of Rene Goscinny's "Iznogoud." "God Drug," "Natura Morta" and "Frog Princess" from eigoManga are gone. "Edgar & Ellen Graphic Novelty" from Simon & Schuster has been removed. Volume 1 of "The Spark" and "Helix" from Studio 407 didn't light any fires for Diamond either. "London Horror Comics" is gone with #2. Diamond US are even dropping copies of the SFX magazine. The sci-fi horror graphic novel "The Hole: Consumer Culture" by Damian Duffy and John Jennings from Eye Trauma Comics. I was looking forward to that one as well. The high art project "Artist Sisters Box Of Stories" from SBC wasn't going to survive, not even at $30 a pop. The "Mystery Manor" trade by John Leach, Michael Reidy, Mark Kidwell from Silver Phoenix will need a new outlet. And the first two volumes of "Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea" from Viz are history,

So, you know, not really.

As for "Storming Paradise" #5 and #6? from Wildstorm/DC? They cancelled that themselves, due to personal creator issues. Expect resolicitations in May.

GNU COLOUR

[Yellow Light]

So why isn't Moose Baumann the colourist on "Flash: Rebirth?" Versions differ...

Moose: "To be fair, being booted from Flash was a blessing, and seems to have benefited everyone. Nobody involved really wanted me on the project, and I'm certainly not one to overstay my welcome. I just wish someone, anyone, at DC had enough testosterone to inform me personally. Finding out third-hand was pretty uncool."

Step up series penciller, Ethan Van Sciver: "It's an outrage!"

Moose: "Not sure why you say that, you should be thrilled. Sinclair is a terrific colorist, just look at that cover. It's bad-a$$. And more important, Didio loves him. Everybody should be pleased."

Ethan: "We're pleased, but really would have liked to have you along. You're just very busy with projects for IMAGE and IDW and who knows who else, and you've become a hot commodity.

"The book will still be pretty great, and Alex Sinclair is a top colorist, but everyone will miss your work."

Moose: "Well, a guy's got to have priorities."

Ethan: "And you made those clear to me. We'll soldier on without you, my friend."

And to another poster, Ethan "I think I just explained it fairly well. He had work obligations that prohibited him from turning in the work we needed, and so he was unable to color FLASH. He directly told me so. Nobody is happy about it. Geoff and I looooove Moose's work. But life is full of unpleasant realities, and that's what we were forced to deal with."

Moose: "Wow. Not quite how I remember things going down. It's a shame you lost my phone number, I could explain it all to you again... I'm pretty sure Dan DiDio is pleased with himself. We know how he "has a problem with Moose. Your turn now. I know you have to have the last word here."

TJ Lamb: "C'mon, guys....let's not fight in front of the kids....you know this will just scar them (or worse, end up in that Lying in the Gutters fish wrapping)."

Your wish is my command... a few weeks late, but still.

PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR CREDIT AS REFUSAL OFTEN OFFENDS

[Green Light]

Over the last two years, a chunk of the IPC back catalogue of British comics has been licensed by owner DC Comics to UK publisher Prion. They've been coming out for the last couple of years in phonebook-style chunks.

These titles include the collections of the IPC "Picture Libraries", originally a series of digest-sized books of around 64 pages each, that employed a huge legion of excellent Italian, Spanish and South American artists throughout the sixties and seventies. Apparently.


Because only the editor of the book has been credited. Not the writers and artists.

Eight have been published so far, with two more planned in the next couple of month, 650 pages or more thick. Here are a few examples.

"Unleash Hell: War Picture Library Collection No.1" The cover, spine and back cover with the name of the editor are prominently displayed:

Editor Steve Holland lists the credits on his blog, but they don't appear on the comic collection itself. I understand that the issue has just never come up. Despite some rather prominent names.

This book contains a 64 page Hugo Pratt story, "Iron Fist," one of only eleven stories he did for the series.

Here's another. "Death Or Glory: Battle Picture Library Collection No.1"

According to Steve Holland's blog, it contains, amongst many others, a 64 page story by John Severin, uncredited..

And "High Noon" reprints, amongst others, three stories by Alberto Breccia, currently nominated for the 2009 Will Eisner Comic Industry Hall of Fame, again, without credit,

Steve lists the credits here.

Finally, we find a credit. On "Rick Random - Space Detective", once on the back cover and in the introduction.

After all, as Steve's blog shows, Ron Turner drew all 700 pages. Was having 700 pages by one artist enough to trigger some kind of cover mention?

The same pattern repeats over a number of books, "Against All Odds", "Let 'Em Have It", "Valentine Picture Stories" and "Hospital Nurse Picture Library": Love on Ward B."

With "Up And At 'Em" and "Aces High" we expect more of the same.

Other Steve Holland projects for other publishers have been properly credited and he has written books devoted to cataloguing every IPC Picture Library

investigating credits, saying "Where possible we have identified the artists, scriptwriters and cover artists."

Other IPC work licensed by DC to other publishers such as Titan has been full of credits. Just check "The Spider" or "The Steel Claw".

And if DC had licensed John Severin's US work like they have to Prion, you bet there would have been a credit. It's not as if they're all long dead creators, many of these people are still alive, indeed in some cases still working in the field.


Maybe this is something Prion might like to consider?

THE WAGES OF CIN

[Green Light]

Cinebook, as we've seen suffering the whims of Diamond, and seemingly completely absent from the new Previews, are also being attacked for their bowlderising of their European work of late.

Nudity is back as a taboo, with badly censored panels and pages fast becoming the norm.

Despite being labelled 15 Plus, the likes of "Largo Winch" and "Leo's The World Of Aldebaran", "The Scorpion" and "I.R.$." have had poorly drawn underwear added to the character's lithe frames.

Apparently Cinebook was doing their best to make the material appropriate for the non-European market.

Diamond seems to have rewarded the publisher's compliance by stopping distribution of their line.

FACE FRONT

[Green Light]

This column previously reported how Daniel Dae Kim traversed NYCC in a "V For Vendetta" mask. Apparently Simon Pegg did the same last year at San Diego disguised as The Joker.

This year, watch for Barack with a Spidey mask.

SMALL PRINT

[Green Light]

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:  lying in the gutters, watchmen, the flash, barry allen

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