LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 125
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. It is read by more people than the Bible.
I may have just made that last bit up. But still.
All stories are sourced from well-connected individuals and checked with respective publisher representatives before publication. Mostly. 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.
Looks like I’m going to be going to the Big Apple Convention in New York this November. Don’t ask how, or why, sometimes opportunities just present themselves.
And this weekend I’ll be at the Birmingham International Comics Expo promoting “Flying Friar.” Here, have some shelftalkers for your local comics shop.
TOO LITTLE ROM
Devil’s Due are certainly in line to retake the franchise, but so are Marvel, who are pushing that the “Transformers” movie which made so much money for Hasbro, used a lot of content generated by Marvel.
One peculiar wrinkle is that Marvel and Hasbro are still in debate over the rights to “Rom.” The original patent on the toy has lapsed, so it’s all about the development of the property, and who actually did what. There’s all sorts of interesting legal questions being asked. Those Dire Wraiths didn’t come from nowhere. And the upcoming “Essential Power Man And Iron Fist” had to miss out the issue that featured Rom.
It’s all good for lawyers…
Have some covers.
OUT AND ABOUT
Yes, yes, I know it already came out in the USA. But it’s not as if anyone watched it over there.
I’ve been to a couple of these things before, and they’re always good fun, but this time I had the enjoyable experience of walking down the red carpet (okay, in this case a green carpet full of lovely trees with lights) to be called over to the ropes a couple of times by people who recognised me (hi Mickey!). It almost felt like I was famous for about five seconds which gives you a strange tingle – and thankfully can be put back in its box immediately afterwards.
The film is pretty much an all Brit cast with a few odd Americans to spice things up, and as an ensemble fantasy film it really works. The leads are of the bland variety, but the rest of the cast build a convincing fantasy world. The princes/ghosts were superb to a man. Dexter Fletcher acts Robert DeNiro off the screen with the mere twitch of an eyebrow (think Grommit in human form). The sky ship was spectacular, as was its landing. The use of runes and entrails tied the characters into the world itself, as if they were rocks or trees on the landscape. Ricky Gervais is surprisingly good – he plays himself, but the context sees him fitting in perfectly.
It’s a wonderful mix and match of characters, ideas, scenery and motivation which became a gloriously entertaining jumble. A lot of people have said it’s just like “The Princess Bride.” It’s not. It’s more “Time Bandits.” Silly, but convincing.
On the way out, Mark Millar said it was the “film of the year.” Mind you, I remember his raving about “Superman Returns,” too.
It is good, though. And hasn’t Claire Dane got lovely hands?
Paramount wouldn’t pay for an after-show party so Matthew Vaughan had select individuals back at his place for a private party. An after-show, I can blag my way in. Private party? I knew a few people who were going, but thought I should probably leave that one alone. I must be getting old. So I ended up in a bar with other cast members who didn’t get an invite – possibly even more entertaining!
Thursday, I went to Simon Spurrier’s book launch in The Cellar Door off The Strand. A very swish place, it’s a tiny bar and is converted from an old underground toilet. Spurrier, known for comics such as “Gutsville,” “Silver Surfer” and “Judge Dredd,” has received rave reviews for his debut novel “Contract” and the launch attracted a fair few famous comics faces to wish him well. And Tony Lee. And the wine flowed freely.
And Friday, I attended a private showing of the “British Marvel Secrets” exhibition, detailing the work of British creators who have worked for Marvel Comics, from Dave Gibbons to Mark Millar (though somehow missing out Barry Windsor-Smith). The exhibition is organised by Urban Species, an East End design/clothing company with a variety of edgy Marvel licensed designs, art pieces and exhibits. They mostly seemed to be signed by Mark Millar as well. Sadly nothing that could get you arrested.
Oh and yes, they’ve got the first arc “Iron Man” movie costume on display.
The show continues at the Old Truman Brewery on Hanley Street in Shoreditch until Sunday.
And what was the result of all this gadding about? I’ve come down with some horrible lurgy. Urrgh.
SCOTT TO TROT
His personal description states “Success is the best revenge.”
TWO MEN AND A LESBIAN.
This was meant to be announced during the summer conventions. It’s still being delayed – a mixture of managing professional workload, and DC’s nervousness about potentially damaging a brand with the publicity a title lead gay Bat-character may bring, and the release of “The Dark Knight” movie.
Stable doors and horses anyone?
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
LITG previously reported that Mike Carlin was intending to “heavyweight up” the series, bringing in big name creators in light of sliding sales, and now certain existing talent on the series has found themselves not knowing what their next job will be, if it’s there at all.
Except they don’t know that that’s what’s going on.
They do now.
RED IS THE COLOUR — Updated 10/10 at 10:00 AM Pacific
It seems that the call for freelance creators may have something to do with the Editor In Chief of Arcana, Sean O’Reilly, accepting a position at Platinum Studios. Currently I hear it’s Vice-President in charge of Publishing, while Adam Rosenblum, originally installed as a temporary Editor In Chief after Jim McLaughlin’s sudden departure, will remain in the role permanently.
O’Reilly has moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles for an extended period of time to work with Platinum. There is a possibility Arcana will become part of Platiunum, and O’Reilly has approached several of his Arcana creators to sign Platinum deals.
UPDATE: I hear that Adam Rosenblum, originally installed as a temporary, then permanent Editor In Chief after Jim McLaughlin’s sudden departure, has suddenly departed. Anyone want to be a Platinum EiC?
PLATINUM CONTRACTS — Updated 10/10 at 10:00 AM Pacific
“We are making a commitment to the belief that there are creators in the comic book industry who have stories to tell that would translate to other mediums, but who don’t have the outlet in which tell those stories and reach those other mediums. Getting your story produced, even if it never advances beyond comics form, is a commitment we’re willing to make.”
Mike Strang has complained quite a lot regarding Platinum’s treatment of him and the comic strip he created, “Weird Adventures in Unemployment,” and their inability to do just that.
Last week a strip called “Weird Adventures in Unemployment” started up at Platinum’s drunkduck.com. This isn’t Mike Strang’s story, and he hasn’t been credited on-site in any way. This was the first Mike had seen of it.
UPDATE: I understand that while, initially Michael Strang was uncredited, after his blogpost, a “created by Mike Strang” was added on DrunkDuck, then reduced in font size and “by Brandon J. Carr” added in a larger font.
THE HELLFIRE CLUB
Welcome to comics.
THE WEEK IN TWITTER
kellysue: Ringtones: “Le Freak” = Mom; “Secret Agent Man” = Fraction. “Ruby Red Dress” Leave Me Alone refrain = Default
lisaatneptune: “Just Looking” is not the same as “reading comics from cover to cover.” Let’s keep that in mind, ok.
Boy, comics can be really petty sometimes. And thank goodness, or I wouldn’t have a column.
Dez is also working on “Comic Art Now,” a Spring 2008 200-page “comic art directory” for HarperCollins (US), ILEX (UK) and various European publishers. With well over 100 artists work on show (US, UK, Brazil, Sweden, Manila, Tokyo, Singapore, Bulgaria…), plus full contact details, it’s intended to give our industry the equivalent of “The Creative Handbook,” “The Art Directory,” etc. and gives creators a general audience exposure and puts their names/email addresses in the hands of account execs and the like who invariably steal their styles because they don’t know how to find them.
Dez tells me, “Uniquely, unlike the existing directories which charge for inclusion, this book’s selection for inclusion is based on the quality of the art rather than the artist’s bank balance…”
Keep on keeping on Dez.
ALL YOUR ALAN MOORE STORIES IN ONE EASY BITE-SIZED FORM
A new “Supreme” compendium?
Alan Moore’s “Ragnarok” examined.
And Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, Iain Sinclair and more discuss the new publication “London: City Of Disappearances” at The Bishopsgate Insitute’s Great Hall.
A UK version of the “From Hell” hardcover is available for direct ordering by retailers from Knockabout. Choosing to sidestep Diamond on this one, to order your copies email firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe this is a dry run for their “League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen III” edition?
Talking of which, Amazon.ca customers got their emails this week to state that they would not be shipping “League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.” No such reticence from Amazon.com’s listing.
Byrne is charging around $20,000 an issue which breaks down as he states:
“Minimum 22 pages plus cover, pencils and inks. All character and costume designs, etc. Logo design if requested. Script if so desired, plot input if done ‘Marvel Style.’ Physical ownership and publishing rights to all the work*. No further claim on the property by myself
“In other words, a package that adds up to slightly more than the asking price (with some monies factored in for a representation of royalties that will not be paid in actuality), and if the buyer takes it to Hollywood and makes a bajillion dollars, s/he doesn’t owe me another cent.
“*Unless the work contains characters owned by other publishers. If someone asked for, say, Iron Fist meets Batman, for instance. Then, just the physical ownership.”
Rather nice art as well.
The “Homeless Channel” trace job.
And familiar lettering from the “Perry Bible Fellowship.”
BITS AND PIECES
Which gives me an excuse to plug Steven Moffat much-loved-by-those-who-saw-it sitcom “Joking Apart.” Forgotten by the BBC, officially released on DVD by a fan. And only available here. Fiendishly complex farcical plots, this is “Seinfeld” meets “Fawlty Towers” meets “Blink.” If you like well structured comedy, this is the perfect example.
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