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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 133

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. The veracity of each story is judged by me and given a spotlight – Green is the most reliable, Amber means there’s likely an interest involved or the likelihood isn’t set and Red means even I can’t quite bring myself to believe it.

Lying In The Gutters is for your entertainment. Neither Fair Nor Balanced.

I AM THE KING OF ALL KNOWN MEDIA

[Green Light]

From The Guardian today. More later.

I should really set up a geek PR company one of these days.

LADIES OF THE KNIGHT

[Green Light]

Look for a new “Gotham Girls”-style series to spin out of “Countdown,” starring Harley Quinn and Holly Robinson. And on art, none other than
Stephane Roux.

I’m sure I heard one fangirl out there go “squee.”

MY BATNIPPLE IS TINGLING…

[Yellow Light]

Comic book creators are often asked by their fans to draw specific scenes for money. It’s called commissioning. It’s quite common. Usually using famous characters, recognizable icons, often people associated with the creator’s career. And creators also often work on pieces without being commissioned, in order to sell them off. Technically, if it involved a company owned character, it’s a breach of copyright, but over the history of the comics industry, publishers have turned a blind eye to it. Indeed, publisher employees and executives are some of the biggest commissioners in the industry. And the regular Artist Allies at comic book conventions bring a steady stream of people through the doors. It’s considered a stream of income for some, and publishers have seen it as a healthy promotional activity for the industry. John Byrne and Bryan Hitch have areas of websites devoted to it. Indeed, the internet has increased the ability of people to sell work, and eBay is full to the brim of artists, seasoned and new, selling such wares.

There’s only one thing to watch out for. Don’t do anything vaguely male-homoerotic. Unless you’re Joel Schumacher.

As one artist, let’s call him Christian (because that’s his name) found out when his auctions were suspended by eBay after Warners requested it. This is an example of a piece he was selling:

Craig Hoffman, Director of Warner Bros Entertainment’s Worldwide Anti-Piracy Corporate Communications told Christian “no one is authorized to manufacture, reproduce, copy, sell and/or offer for sale any products/services which utilize the Batman Property without the express written permission of Warner Bros. The drawing which you have offered for sale has not been authorized by Warner Bros., therefore we suspended your auction. I apologize for the inconvenience of your suspended auction; however, I hope that you understand our position. Further, please be assured that we never attempt to single-out any one, or group of, sellers. In that regard, please feel free to forward any other questionable auctions to our attention and we will be sure to investigate and take appropriate action.”

Now, this column is in no way suggesting that Warner Brothers or other publishers/studios are not entitled, nay compelled, to issue such notices and cancel such auctions, but if they were to take the same attitude to comic book creators industry-wise, it would have disastrous consequences for many.

Especially, say, if this was extended to selling original art returned to the creator by the publisher.

FANTASTIC FIND

[Green Light]

Posted to Newsarama, then removed, these pencilled pages from Millar and Hitch’s “Fantastic Four” still managed to leak out… grab them while you can.

THIRTEEN PLUS ONE

[Green Light]

“Largo Winch” is a rather successful French series of graphic novels, by “XIII” writer Jean Van Hamme, selling around half a million books a month in France alone.

I understand Cinebook is to publish the series in English, starting in March.

STAN LEE HANCOCK

[Green Light]

Back in the day, Marvel interns were instructed to fulfill mailed-in requests for autographs – so you had kids routinely forging Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s signature.

So if you were ever sent one, give it another look over…

SPACE TO RENT

[Green Light]

A while ago, this column talked about “Studio Space,” a book in search of a publisher. Well, that publisher is now Image. 320 oversized colour pages written by Tripwire’s Joel Meadows for May, it’s a look at comic artists and the space in which they create.

From Brian, “I think that basically I’m an auteur. I don’t like collaborating, not even with writers” Bolland to Adam “I’ll put the Beatles on to listen to because it will put me in a good place mentally. I try to surround myself with as much comfort as possible so that nothing gets in the way of having a good creative flow” Hughes to Frank “I was first introduced to EC Comics. believe it or not, when I was in boy scout camp. My father was a scout master and he got me in under age to be in the Boy Scouts” Miller. Oh and Dave Gibbons, Tim Bradstreet, Howard Chaykin, Sean Phillips, Duncan Fegredo, Joe Kubert, Mike Mignola, Tim Sale, George Pratt, Tommy Lee Edwards, Sergio Toppi, Walter Simonson, Jim Lee, Bryan Talbot, Alex Ross, Steve Dillon and Dave Taylor too.

Foreword by Guillermo Del Toro, afterword by Michael Moorcock. Have some sample piccies.

DEVIL’S DUTY

[Yellow Light]

I’ve been hearing rumours of staff cuts and premise shrinkage at Devil’s Due all over the place, over the possibility of losing the “GI Joe” license. So what’s actually going on? I asked President Josh Blaylock, who respond:

“We did make a few changes and moved offices months ago – but it’s a bigger picture than just the Joe deal.

“1. Yes, we want to ensure that if Joe goes elsewhere that it’s not a significant blow to the bottom line.

“2. I brought in a new CEO for the company a while ago who is strengthening company operations across the board (I’m still Presidente).

“3. DDP has been / is being reorganized to work more cooperatively with its ‘sister’ company, Kunoichi (an interactive & design firm), which is booming.

“4. We opened our Los Angeles office and need to make sure the money is being spent wisely as we develop more relationships in the area

“5. We are tentatively moving closer to the Chicago Loop (downtown) next year into a brand-new office in a building that one of our business partners is developing.

“6. Look for announcements of more new team members to come soon.”

I loved the extra “e” on “Presidente.” Josh needs the big moustache, military cap and torture cells.

And they’re starting their own cultural revolution too… every month in Chicago, and soon extending to Los Angeles…

THIS WEEKEND IN FACEBOOK

[Yellow Light]

Leah Moore is all of a dither

Paul Cornell is lazing about today.

David Bishop is not sure that last glass of wine was a good idea.

Laurenn McCubbin is in Las Vegas, and I ain’t leavin’. Wow – those are words I never thought I’d say. Huh. Funny old world, innit?

Alex Segura is headin’ out.

Warren Ellis is nnaarrrrr.

Tony Lee is standing in a tattoo parlour…

Dave Gibbons is agog.

THIS WEEKEND IN FRIAR

[Green Light]

It turns out that Diamond shipped the “Flying Friar Color Edition” to the East Coast last week – and the West Coast this week. Apologies to any retailers who, like one did, had to contend with a customer screaming for their “Flying Friar” and accusing their Californian retailer of not ordering it.

Retailers stocking the comic in the link.

“The Flying Friar” sold out of Diamond US again, the day it shipped on the East Coast. Markosia had already sent out double what was initially ordered, but thankfully over printed by 300% of initial orders. So Markosia will fill all orders. Providing Diamond tell Markosia there are orders to be filled.

New York’s Midtown ordered absolutely huge amounts – but it still may not be enough. They have copies here. And in the UK, I hear Forbidden Planet still have a stack.

SWIPE FILES

[Yellow Light]

Jim Lee’s “Batman” #619 pg. 5… and Stephen Segovia’s “Countdown To Mystery” #3 Back-up Story pg. 5:

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]

Warren launches his new website community, WhiteChapel. I posted there before all you MFs out there so suck my fat one. Obviously Warren posted there before me. So I must suck his fat one now. What a picture.

With PirateBay a rare untouchable torrent site to find comics bitorrent files, I’m told that rather than take to fight through the complexities and copyright-unfriendliness of the Swedish legal system, that certain bodies have been involved in monitoring Pirate Bay users and creating sting operations and collating usage data from service providers. And that downloaders/uploaders of large amounts have been fined and told their downloading will be monitored.

Start those IP-wiping software engines… now!

SMALL PRINT

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.

My social networking is pretty much all Facebook these days, but I’m around at Bebo, MySpace, ComicSpace and Twitter, too.

And my Wii number is 0512 2690 8446 2879

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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