Lying In The Gutters

Mon, April 13th, 2009 at 2:01pm PDT | Updated: February 4th, 2011 at 3:43pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist
21

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 205

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.

DITKO DAYS

[Green Light]Steve Ditko has spoken out against, well, lots of things, but Joe Quesada pops up.

Quoting from Newsarama:

“Asked point blank by a fan if things in the Marvel Universe will ever go back to normal after being ‘screwed up’ by House of M and Civil War, Joe Quesada said, ‘These toys are meant to be broken. If we just told stories that kept the status quo, nobody would be in this room, and I’d be out of a job. They’re meant to be thrown against a wall, smashed together, and built back up again.’”

Ditko, well, goes off on one.

"Quesada himself is only the latest ‘status quo’ mind, a different editorial body change with the same ‘status quo’ editorial mind, the same ‘license’ from the same original anti-hero ‘authority’....

"Beyond Quesada’s explicit confession to create ‘smashed,’ ‘broken’ ‘toys,’ his confession clearly reveals, exposes, the source, the actual origin and the one who first assumed the authority, the power, and who first initiated, practiced, the idea that a hero is a ‘toy’ to be ‘smashed,’ ‘broken,’ as an ongoing editorial anti-hero policy and duty....

"If no A is A, no real identity and nothing is or can be what it is, then every word Joe Quesada said is not the word he said...."

Enjoy.

BISSETTE, BROTHERS AND MIRACLE MEN

[Green Light]Steve Bissette blogs about a proposal by himself, Rick Hautala and Michael Zulli called "Little Brothers," agreed to be published by Dark Horse Comics but that never made it out of the gate, though not from want of trying.

Along the way he includes artwork, proposal documents and thumbnails, subsequent rejection slip from Vertigo's Karen Berger, details of Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and Michael Zulli's "Act Of Faith" for "Puma Blues" #20, a companion piece to the better known "Mirror Of Love," and Moore's first issue of "Swamp Thing" #20.

Fascinating reading as always.

And then there's a piece on his Neil Gaiman biblioographic title Prince Of Stories" which references the current state of the Marvelman/Miracleman property, in that a company signed a deal in 2007 with Marvelman creator Mick Anglo for his rights to the character with an aim to future publication.

Though Bissette is rather pessimistic on that one.

ALTER EGO

[Green Light]Not content with best selling rap albums and blockbuster movies, Tyrese Gibson is moving into comics. And I don't just mean "Green Lantern" or "Luke Cage"-starring rumours.

Say, wasn't that the name of the comic "The Mask" appeared in ages back?

THREE FOR TEN

[Green Light]IDW was the third-biggest comics publisher in March, behind Marvel and DC but ahead of Dark Horse and Image.

Formed ten years ago by ex-Wildstorm talent, the company has a reputation for quality-if-rather-pricey licensed titles and creator-owned series that get picked up for movies quicker than is strictly fashionable. They are also one of the few companies that bigger publishers have seen as a threat, reflected in some of their non-compete contracts.

It's worth considering that as Wildstorm have shrunk in their market share, IDW have grown and overtaken their estranged parent.

HE'S JUST THIS GUY, YOU KNOW?

[Green Light]Every Monday I write and draw a cartoon for top British political blog, Guido Fawkes. Here's the latest.

This weekend blog author Paul Staines took down a senior Government advisor, forcing his resignation, and making colleagues consider their positions, including Labour spin doctor Derek Draper. Draper, along with the now-resigned Derek McBride, had an e-mail conversation leaked to Guido, detailing plans to smear the Conservative Party with gossip, innuendo and downright lies.

On Sunday, British news service ITN called Paul up for comment for their news bulletin. When they returned their call however, they mixed up phone numbers and believed they were calling Derek Draper. Paul ran with it took the opportunity to apologise to everyone (including Paul Staines) and said he was "considering his position," common political code for planning to resign. And ITN used it.

Nothing to do with comics, but it did make me laugh.

HOOPES DREAMS

[Green Light]Last year, I ran the story that notorious comic book scam artist Josh Hoopes had moved up from scamming artists by arranging high priced gigs for artists, selling them on to publishers, then running off with the money, and was now directly scamming publishers such as Tokyopop, Desperado and Penny Farthing for advances by pretending to be the artist Art Adams and his non-existent agent Jeff Henzel.

After admitting his crimes, all went quiet on the Josh Hoopes front. Until last week. When this e-mail was sent around.

From: Arthur Adams
To: XXXXXXX
Sent: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 3:04 pm
Subject: up for commissions for a short time

Hello there..............
Allow me to introduce my self. Some of you i already know.
This 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. Plus my agent forwraded me your e-mail link
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.

This is not from the real Art Adams and uses an e-mail address that Josh Hoopes has used frequently. If, by any chance, you do want to contact the real Art Adams, then I will happily forward your messages on.

But remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

THE GREAT COMICS BAIL OUT OF 2009

[Green Light]While the US and UK recessions seem to be causing redundancies, bankruptcies and reductions in revenue across the comics industry, in Japan, they're using comics to bring themselves out of their own financial problems.

The government is giving the manga industry a 15 trillion yen infusion to increase their manga exports by 1000%, creating half a million jobs in the process.

That's what happens when you have a comics fan as Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso. Hang on, isn't Barack Obama one as well? Will Quesada and Levitz be going cap in hand any time soon? Or was the "Amazing Spider-Man" cover the best we're going to get?

One major concern for some. however, is that manga exports from Japan are going to be government subsidised. As American comics get more expensive, expect Japanese comics in America to get a whole lot cheaper. And a lot more competitive.

TAKING CHANCES

[Green Light]Marvel-based gambling machines and websites have been common, in the UK at least, as licensors managed to sell all sorts of "Hulk," "Spider-Man" and "Punisher" games to places where it's legal - if a little too child appealing.

Marvel Editorial have been embarrassed about this, but have felt unable to control Marvel Entertainment Licensing's deals with CryptoLogic, who create the games.

Well, similar embarrassment may be about to hit DC Comics.

Marvel Entertainment, whose deal with Cryptologic expires next year, have made a new deal with gambling company Playtech. And to replace their loss of licence, Cryptologic has made a deal for gambling games with DC, including characters such as Batman and Superman.

Such machines and websites will, naturally, be regulated by the varying legalities in different territories. But, given past form, the Marvel vs DC rivalry will soon be playing out in bookies and pubs across the UK.

Remember, hold on Kryptonite, nudge on Bat-Mite.

IDENTITY CRISIS

[Green Light]Zatanna may be talking to Wonder Woman in this panel from JLA #31... but why does she think she's talking to Dinah, Black Canary?

Must be magic.

LIST IN TRANSLATION

[Green Light]The practice of Scanlations can be a bind for some. On the one hand, the scanning and translating of foreign comics material is a clear breach of copyright and an illegal act exploiting creative work for free. On the other hand it is exposing a market to work that otherwise it wouldn't have the chance to enjoy, translating work into another language and in some cases building up a market for that work. And some scanlations have received the honor of being used in the actual later translation of work.

Which is why it was amusing to see creator Ben Templesmith addressing scanlations of his "Wormwood" comics by asking the scanlators if they wouldn't mind adding a list of Amazon links to the work in question when posting them up.

Oh, and using Babelfish translators or similar to pose those requests.

FLASH BYRNE

[Green Light]So, just how would John Byrne have brought Barry Allen back? He lets his message board know.

Simple, really. It's very, very, very hard to "kill" a character who can travel in Time. How old was Barry when he "died" in CRISIS? For all we know, he could have been 106.

My idea was to simply have Barry pop into existence in the "current" DCU, returning from one of his trips thru time to find he'd "missed his target" because of disruptions caused by CRISIS. He would then live out whatever life (nature and duration) the Powers that Be would allow.

(I also had an idea that, since Wally was being The Flash, Barry would take on another identity for a while, knowing that sooner or later he had to go die in CRISIS. But when the moment came, Wally would bushwhack him, take his place, and that would actually have been Wally we saw die.)

As to the man who wrote "Flash: Rebirth," Byrne asks "What the _____ happened to Geoff Johns? There was a time when he seemed to know what he was doing!"

"Flash: Rebirth" #1 sold out on release and a second print is on the way.

Thanks to Jesse "BakerBaker" Baker for the links.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS...

[Green Light]Where in the world is the :Grunts: War Stories,” graphic novel by Shannon Denton and Keith Giffen planned for Arcana?

Any appearances, let this column know!

SICK SQUID

[Green Light]So want to know where the interdimensional squid from “Watchmen” went? Apparently a water tank in the depths of the “Red Dwarf” spaceship billions of years in the future after mankind has died out.

No, seriously.

“Red Dwarf,” the sci-fi sitcom returned this weekend, not to the mighty BBC that spawned it, but to a satellite/cable station called Dave that has been known to show repeat episodes.

Yes, it really is called Dave.

Lots of convincing green screen for the first episode (and presumably where they spent all the money for all three episodes) gave the show a glossiness it never previously had. But, combined with removing the studio audience, sucked the show of its humour. Even the gags, as good as Red Dwarf's ever were, seemed to be directed and acted with pauses for laughs that never came.

For the first episode, you have to make do with Arnold Rimmer's extreme indifference to the fate of his compatriots. before the meta textual twisting of the plot sees the cast meet their fans, young and old, their cast and their creator - taking any excuse to reprise scenes from "Blade Runner" on the way.

"RED DWARF: Back To Earth" is available on Region 2 DVD. If you can't play region 2, then change your DVD player. How else are you going to watch the sublime Doctor Who/Tomb Raider slashfic of "Planet Of The Dead" or Primeval series three, hmm? Exactly.

And can we just take a moment to enjoy the cover art for the last Battlestar box set?

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]Justice League opening theme tune

Twins Of Evil Theme tune from 1971

Spooky!

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket, Rhode Island is having an online auction to raise funds for its non profit theatre. One of the items is a “Flash: Rebirth” #1 coupled with a TPB of “Flash: Terminal Velocity,” signed by the late great Mike Wieringo

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.

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:  steve ditko, tyrese gibson, fake art adams

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