Lying In The Gutters

Mon, May 18th, 2009 at 2:28pm PDT | Updated: May 19th, 2009 at 2:02pm

Comic Books
Rich Johnston, Columnist

LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 210

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.

Next week: A very special Lying In The Gutters. Seriously. You won’t want to miss this.

SOLICITATION FLAGGED

[Red Light]

I'm told that the upcoming August edition of Diamond Comics' "Previews" solicits an upcoming issue of "Wizard" that makes it clear that the teased "Reborn" book from Marvel by Brubaker and Hitch is, indeed, The Return Of Captain America.

Unless this is Wizard just making it up based on supposition, marketing misdirection and general tomfoolery on Marvel's part.

Let's see how many copies the Wizard retail outlet orders!

RADICAL CHANGES

[Green Light]

I understand that Dave Elliot is no longer Editor-In-Chief of Radical Comics, the company he co-founded. Based in New York, Elliot was unwilling to make a deemed-necessary move to Los Angeles to manage the offices there. Elliot will still work on Radical projects, but has stepped down from the senior role.

Elliot is known for working at a number of groundbreaking comics companies, including Quality, Atomeka, Tundra, Deadline and Penthouse.

Radical has been one of the more successful publishers designed to create and exploit comic books across other media. Elliot's long history in the comics industry, especially British comics, has enabled him to bring in a disproportionately large number of name talents and has helped create the luscious work that is Radical's stock in trade. He will remain a partner in the company.

His place will be taken by David Wohl, formerly Editor-In-Chief Executive VP of Top Cow Studios. At Top Cow he not only wrote comics but also produced TV, film and game projects. Wohl was also Creative Director for John Woo's Tiger Hill Entertainment and VP Development for animation company Blockade.

Senior VP of Operations, Edmund Shern confirmed the move, telling me "Dave Elliott has indeed recently handed over the mantle to David Wohl. In fact, Dave Elliott worked very closely with David Wohl during the interview and subsequent handing over to his successor.

"I would like to clarify that the decision was mutually made. Radical's senior management saw that with the influx of new titles in the pipeline, an inhouse Editor In Chief was crucial to operations. In fact, I even explored the possibility with Dave of setting up a satellite office in New York to facilitate operations. However, we both agreed that it was an idea that was not appropriate at this time and completely respect Dave Elliott's desire to stay in the city he loves so much with his family.

"At the same time, Dave Elliott also expressed his interest to focus more on creating and writing. I understand this is not an uncommon sentiment among editors every now and then. Ultimately, we mutually agreed for Dave to transition to a position where he could focus on his true love, writing and creating -  as opposed to being an editor and being responsible for so much more than just the creative aspects of the task.

"I am therefore happy to report that we are not only excited to have David Wohl on board, but also am now excited to work with Dave Elliott in his new capacity as a creator and writer.

"We are grateful that Dave Elliott has indeed been helpful in contributing introductions to some of the creators and talents that Radical has published and continues to publish. Fans will also be happy to hear that we do have titles that are coming out from exciting fan favorites such as Rick Remender, Zach Sherman, David Hine and other creators and talents that we will be announcing soon.

"I am pleased to note that Radical's President and key founder, Barry Levine, who originated the art direction and overall creative vision of all the Radical titles has pushed the quality to create the "luscious work" that Radical has been known for in art while pushing the boundaries for new story concepts and writing styles."

Thanks Edmund. I'm sure some of the more observant will spot a touch of spinning in those last two paragraphs there, but it's good to know that things are, well, good right now.

MAUR AND KIM

[Green Light]

Maurício de Souza, Brazil's biggest cartoonist, was commissioned in the 90s by Kim Basinger, after she encountered his "Monica's Gang" titles, to create a comic based on her life, for a soon-to-be opened thematic park called Mud Pie at her hometown Braselton near Atlanta, Georgia.

Sadly, "Kim", the theme park using its visuals and the accompanying toy line, was shelved when Basinger was sued by Jennifer Chambers Lynch for dropping out of the movie "Boxing Helena."

PUPPET GOVERNMENT

[Amber Light]

So, Jonathan Maberry has been chosen to succeed Reginald Hudlin on "Black Panther."

Hudlin appeared most prominently in this column when he tried a bit of "sockpuppetry", creating fake internet identities to back up and support his work online, much to the embarrassment of Marvel.

So is it odd that Jonathan Maberry of Doylestown, Pennsylvania was fingered for something similar when replying to Paul O'Brien's "Wolverine" review a few weeks ago?

One Celia Herrick with an IP address placed at Doylestown, Pennsylvania criticised the review. Robert Norris with an identical IP concurred a minute later, adding "I wonder who this new writer is. I haven't heard of him before"

In later comments, Celia added "Big deal...so Paul and I live together and we've been fans of Mayberry's writing. He's a local author. Big deal."

That would be a) Robert, not Paul you live with, Celia, and b) fans of a local author that Robert has never heard of and c) this time Celia’s IP address was the same as that of another dissenter, A J Shinneker who posted in the first thread.

Looks like “Black Panther" is in good hands. And has quite a local fanbase!

UPDATE: I understand through sources close to the author that this may all be the work of one, shall we say, rather enthusiastic fan. And that Maberry actually lives in the neighbouring town of Warrington...

MILE HIGH COMICS EAT YOUR HEART OUT

[Green Light]

Eminem recently appeared on Jonathan Ross' chat show on British TV, where he expressed his love of comics, we saw his Punisher cover appearance, and he went back to Jonathan's place to see his etchings. Eminem left Greek Ground Zero with a copy of Avengers #3, one missing from his collection.

IRON CURTAIN

[Green Light]

So what happens if you’re a big name creator asked to pitch top Marvel but it doesn’t work out? Just change a few names, find another publisher, and own the whole thing yourself…

That’s what happened with French writer Xavier Dorison. He took his Iron-Man-in-World-War-One pitch and turned it into “Sentinelles," drawn by Enrique Braccia.

The first volume was received well and the second volume is out now.

Hopefully one day we’ll see a revamped version of his Captain-America-In-Iraq pitch as well..

THE MARVEL RETWEET

[Green Light]

Marvel writers and editors gathered last week to dissect the past, discuss current work and plan for the future of Marvel. Did they spend all their time huddled in corners talking Dire Wraiths, returned Steve Rogers and Dark Reign Howard The Ducks? Possibly. But it seems most of the time was taken up on Twitter.

Picture twittered by Joe Quesada

Brian Bendis: marvel retreat week is like real job fantasy camp. i actually have to get up and go to work. defeating the entire purpose of my life.

Jason Aaron: Headed to the Marvel retreat for the first time this week. If there's hazing, here's hoping it doesn't involve Fraction's balls.

Brian Bendis: it goes on for days. it's equal parts funny, scary, maddening and inspiring. i believe this is going to be the one where loeb and i kiss :)

Brian Bendis: there is no drinking or anything unprofessional at the marvel retreat. it's pretty serious stuff. there will be five guys burgers. score!

CB Cebulski: The only thing better than a Five Guys burger is a Five Guys burger that Marvel pays for. :)

Joe Quesada: G' morning, Marvel U! The Marvel Creative Summit is in high gear.

Jason Aaron: Would not want to be a bathroom attendant at the Marvel offices today. Or really any day for that matter.

Brian Bendis: it could be any one of us, but someone is going to say something, maybe off the cuff, that defines mainstream comics for the next year.

Joe Quesada: Bendis is pantless, I don't think anyone wants pics of that.

Brian Bendis: i'm not sure if i'm allowed to twitter from the room but i will pretend i am texting my wife and do it anyhow :)

Joe Quesada: Every time Bendis Tweets from the summit a kitten dies.

Joe Quesada: Two words, Paisley Hulk.

Brian Bendis: just got word- dark avengers is 4 for 4 with the sell outs and back to prints. will it make my life easier this week? probably not :)

Joe Quesada: Brian thinks he's still on Avengers. We're going to break it to him later.

Brian Bendis: Yes. I'm still writing avengers. I just pitched my stuff. Most of it stuck.

Joe Quesada: Jonathan Hickman may be the most wildly creative mind I've seen since Alan Moore. No pressure.

Brian Bendis: I just got made king senior editor in chief! Cool! Well break it to joe later :)

Joe Quesada:Why is Brian Bendis cackling maniacally?

CB Cebulski; Just waiting for the right moment to pitch Loners 2. For the 18th time.

Joe Quesada:What does Brian mean by clean out my desk and go home?

Brian Bendis: I just pitched the Jewish avengers and I was let go and king senior editor.

Jonathan Hickman: is that this is basically 40 something people sitting in a room drinking water and coffee non-stop for 8 hours. I've been charting...

Joe Quesada: New Avengers characters in Brian's book, Goose and Gander!

Jonathan Hickman: bathroom breaks, and there were easily 270 bathroom runs yesterday. After a while, a kind of hierarchy establishes itself...

Brian Bendis: Jewvengers- kitty pryde, sabra, ben Grimm, Shang chi, red hulk

Jonathan Hickman: Rookie members of the meeting, like myself, make the mistake of running off to the bathroom often. Savvy veterans know better...

Joe Quesada: We just gave Allan Heinberg Avengers. Shhh, don't tell Bendis.

Jonathan Hickman: I say all that, to point out the fact that Geoff Loeb hasn't been to the bathroom in 3 days.

CB Cebulski: Chris Powell/Darkhawk is in War of Kings and has his own role to play in the Marvel Universe. He's no longer a Loner. Sorry.

Joe Quesada: The pet Avengers are now Jewish. Bendis is happy.

CB Cebulski: I also think now's the time for the return of Power Pack! 2009 is the 25th Anniversary, no?

Brian Bendis: CBCebulski is sitting right next to me. i've never been this close to someone twittering.

Joe Quesada: Someone just floated the idea of firing Chris Eliopoulos.

Joe Quesada: Ultimate Goose and Gander by Jeph Loeb!

Brian Bendis: Joe pretending he is listening to Loeb

Picture twittered by Brian Bendis

Joe Quesada: According to Tom Brevoort, new Mighty Avengers arc "The Forbidden Dingus."

Joe Quesada: Marvel Team-Up: Punisher and Howard the Duck.

Matt Fraction: Step-Pepper: Herald of Mee Maw

Joe Quesada: Brevoort's beard just strangled @StephenWacker

Brian Bendis: I want to read allan Heinberg's new book now!!!!

Joe Quesada: I knew it would happen, Teen-Wolf Hulk! Life is good.

Brian Bendis: Fraction just pitched " queen shit of fuck mountain"

Joe Quesada: Aunt May: The Cougar!

Brian Bendis: Dark pet avengers just got the greenlight

Joe Quesada: Mini series: Moon Knight On The Moon.

Matt Fraction: Dark Pet Oyvengers one-shot now on sked

Joe Quesada: And-we- are- done! G'night Marvel U!

Brain Bendis: I think I just had the best story session I've ever had.., with my kid. Man, she had more ideas than hickman. She may earn her keep yet

Tom Brevoort: Vaguely surreal moment of the evening: Dan Didio friends me on Facebook.

I’m all CTRL-C CTRL-V’d out…

BRIGHTON BOMBED

[Green Light]

Remember that charity Heroes Run in Brighton that LITG mentioned last week?

Some spectacular results....

Congratulations all. Guinness World Record smashed and lots of money generated. And look! New Batwoman!

THANK YOU FRANK CHO

[Green Light]

Trust Frank Cho to take Jack Kirby pencils...

Then ink them with a Steranko background and his own, special... touch...

It's for charity, folks!

SWIPE FILE

[Green Light]The Homeless Channel.

The Homeless Real World.

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]

Expect a lot more of these “make money from old comics" articles as the recession hits…

Comics-related I-can’t-believe-they-ran-it Headline-of-the-week.

Indian comics continue to grow and expand.

Special Edition "Wanted" DVD finally out in the UK.

When people get “Watchmensch"… and then slab it.

Next week is the MCM London Expo show/convention/thing in the Docklands, London. Except it's on a weekend when the local public transport, Docklands Light Railway is out of operation. Getting around is a pig without it. But it will make for some amusing photos of cosplayers crammed into buses... I'll do my best to be on the scene!

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 write and draw a cartoon every week for the UK's biggest political blog, Guido Fawkes. Here's the latest one.

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.

TAGS:  lying in the gutters, marvel comics, radical, captain america, frank cho

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