Lying In The Gutters

Mon, April 6th, 2009 at 1:50pm PDT

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist
5

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 204

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.

THE JL A-TEAM

[Yellow Light]I understand that superstar comic creators Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will be an upcoming creative team on DC’s "Justice League Of America" comic.

Jim Lee is already committed to finishing "All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder" with Frank Miller, as well as the DC multiplayer online game, so the comic may not be announced until the end of comics convention season.

But it’s very likely that at some point in the foreseeable future that JLA will hit the Number One slot again. Which it hasn’t for quite some time, not since they had some fellow called Grant Morrison writing it.

Nice one DC.

Jim Lee declined to comment on the story and Geoff Johns didn't return e-mails by press time.

CLOAK AND DAGGER TACTICS

[Green Light]So what is happening with the long-promoted "Cloak And Dagger" series by Valerie D’Orazio, Irene Flores and Emily Warren? There was meant to be an announcement this weekend, but none was forthcoming.

Last week, one particular troll spent some time masquerading identities online and stating that D’Orazio had got both Flores and Warren fired off the title. This was summarily dismissed by all parties. But there was something going on.

I understand that as a side-effect of the characters Cloak and Dagger joining the X-books as regular team characters, that their mini-series, in the works for a year, has been shelved for 2009. The creators will be working on other Marvel titles in the interim. Probably a tad higher profile...

I SUDDENLY FEEL A WHOLE LOT BIGGER ON THE INSIDE

[Green Light]IDW is about to announce a new Doctor Who one shot entitled "Room With A Deja View." Drawn by "Rex Mundi’s" EricJ, with the cover below by legendary "Grimjack" artist Tom Mandrake.

And written by me.

It is an honour and a privilege to write for The Doctor. This was a story I’ve had knocking around my head for far too long (most British writers, hell, most British people have at least one Doctor Who story inside them) and I was stunned that it breezed through the IDW and BBC approval processes as easily as it did.

Especially since it’s an internally complex time travel story, a good third of which happens backwards, set on a patchwork space station filled with multiple races all hiding from the rest of the galaxy.

A murder has taken place. Committed by a member of a species that lives in the opposite direction to the timeline. Who, from its own perspective, has not yet committed the crime in question.

A locked house murder mystery where the culprit is clear from the beginning. But the process is anything but. And the Doctor lands smack bang in the middle of it all.

"Doctor Who: A Room With A Deja View," $3.99, published by IDW this July, alongside the first issue of the ongoing series.

I was offered the gig a month ago, on the day I was made redundant. No wonder I went a bit doolally.

PAUL LEVITZ WAS RIGHT?

[Green Light]When Mark Millar was writing "Authority," he found his work censored far more that Warren Ellis' run on the book, as DC Comics, the new owners of publisher Wildstorm cracked down on the publicity-seeking DC analogues that populated the title. "Buggering" jokes were lost, violence was toned down, living Presidents were altered and shocking scenes were made more vanilla. And much of this seemed to come directly from DC publisher Paul Levitz. Mark Millar wasn't pleased and the resultant furor would see Millar out of favor at DC for quite some time.

Well, that was a long time ago, people have come and gone, and Mark Millar's star has risen. And his Millarworld titles seem to be multi-media darlings. And so it was that his Dark Horse series "Chosen" has been renamed "American Jesus: Chosen," part of a trilogy, and a movie now in pre-production.

So how come the final panel of the book (SELECT THE FOLLOWING TEXT TO READ SPOILERS) has lost the revelation that the new-Saviour-revealed-as-actually-the-Anti-Christ is about to be anally raped for seven years by the Devil's five penises) - instead he's just going to be laughed at.

Was this Paul Levitz’s influence reaching across companies? Was it new publisher Image taking a moral stand and altering a creator-owned title? Neither. It was Mark Millar himself.

Millar wrote, "I loved the five cocks bit as it was jarring after such a soft story, but I just felt it didn't seem right for what's coming next in book two. Sodomy was all the rage a few years back but a bit tired now so I changed it."

Some Millarworlders expressed disdain at the change. Millar fought back.

"Laugh away, jack-asses 8-)

"It actually needed to be done for the next book. You'll get why when you read it, but it just didn't gel."

And again:

"Groan. Why do so many people here want to see a little boy being buggered?!?!!?

"It just doesn't work as well with what I have coming next. It still works, but just works better with NO buggery. You'll understand why completely when you read book two.

"But fucking Hell. If it's so important to some people then yeah, it happened off camera!!!!"

It's almost as if Alan Moore got rid of the squid himself, isn't it?

DWARF STARS

[Green Light]Next weekend in the UK, we get three new episodes of "Red Dwarf," the sci-fi sitcom that ran for many a year, a century ago.

The crew have returned to 21st century Earth, discover they are characters in a TV show that’s about to be cancelled, and decide to track down the people responsible for the show.

And what better place than in the comic shop They Walk Among Us in Richmond, London. The same shop that, in another location, was the fictional comic shop in another sitcom, "Spaced."

Smegtastic!

BOLLOCKS ROGERS

[Red Light]Frank Miller on a new "Buck Rogers" movie?

Not according to people in the know.

BORGED

[Yellow Light]So who is taking over the "Titans" book? A now-deleted DC message board thread named Marv Wolfman, but it was news to Marv when I asked him.

The current DC solicitations list Hugh Sterbakov as the writer for "Titans" #14.

Hugh visited the Comic Bloc forums to talk up the issue, focussed on Cyborg. His first post might have hinted of issues to come, "So, yeah, I come from my own creator-owned book, ‘Freshmen,’ so I'm not necessarily used to working with corporate-owned characters, but it's going to be a blast."

Then talking about how we was writing the Cyborg-focused issue from a first-person point of view and how DC Comics are approaching these characters as a whole, saying, "The chief question I had when the Titans were put in front of me, which I think they'll be considering long after I'm gone, is this: ‘Why are these guys a team right now?’ Pure nostalgia just won't fuel stories."

But then, on Monday, March 30 - a week after the solicit came out - he posted this, saying that he was

off the issue. "Hey, guys. Just a heads-up, I won't be writing this issue after all. Nothing all that exciting to report here, just some scheduling problems. It's still going to be a Cyborg one-shot, and I'm sure it'll be great."

Yet, two days later, Dan Didio (in his "20 Answers" thingy at Newsarama) is still talking like Sterbakov was still writing the comic in question:

We’ve been looking for ways to work with Hugh for a while now, and as I said earlier, something like this is just an excellent opportunity. He’s working on the Cyborg story – he has an interesting take on the character and an interesting exploration of the characters that we wanted to try. It’s a great single-issue story, and if there are other opportunities down the road, we’ll explore them."

Couple with the quick-change of Sean McKeever on "Teen Titans," some fans are worried about hands at the tiller… even if Hugh himself is not.

RPM

[Green Light]"45" is a superhero illustrated story by Andi Ewington drawn by 45 different artists for Com.x, scheduled for later this year.

Through 90 pages, "45" tells the story of a journalist interviewing superheroes, from their birth to their death, uncovering conspiracy, fame and power, with forty-five illustrations from the likes of Liam Sharp, Jock, Sean Phillips, John Higgins, Charlie Adlard, Rufus Dayglo, Trevor Hairsine, Gary Erskine, Frazer Irving, Dan Fraga and many more.

ROBOT LOVE

[Green Light]Publishers Archaia, recently sold to Devil’s Due-linked Kunoichi, will begin soliciting books again next month, including continuing "Robotika."

STAMP DUTY

[Green Light]Last week, LITG ran a piece on some Dave-McKean-designed postage stamps for the Royal Mail. Those of you who are interested in buying a set, may wish to bookmark this page and keep checking back.

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]"Eve," a new movie about a young woman who hunts famous serial killers.

"Hack/Slash," a comic book, signed to be a movie, about a young woman who hunts famous…

BITS AND PIECES

Alex De Campi has directed a new video for Evelyn Evelyn, animated by Jorden Oliwa.

Who Watches Half The Watchmen?

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.

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TAGS:  jla, doctor who, cloak and dagger

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