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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 23

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 twelve long glorious and quite scary years. All stories are sourced from well connected sources and checked with respective publisher representatives before publication. 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.

KING MAKERAdded 10/26

[Green Light]

Publishing News seem to have themselves an official scoop.

“STEPHEN KING IS writing a graphic novel for Marvel Comics. Illustrated by Jae Lee, well-known American illustrator of comic books, it will form the eighth volume in King’s Dark Tower series, published by Simon & Schuster in the States and Hodder in the UK. Marvel is distributed worldwide by Diamond Book Distributors and publication is scheduled for next autumn.”

Marvel are expected to confirm this news later in the week. We refer our honourable readers to the Lying In The Gutters from September 26th.

NORTHAMPTONSTAN

[Green Light]

In the new Entertainment Weekly, as part of a five page article on “Watchmen,” Moore is interviewed, quoted about “growing up in the terrorist streets of Britain.”

Northampton has never been known for its insurgent tendencies, not for its numerous cells, be it Al Qaeda, IRA or the Northampton Liberation Front.

You don’t think Moore could have said “terraced” do you?

Oh dear.

Talking of which here are some of the least likely signed Alan Moore memorabilia…. I feel an eBay complaint coming on.

PIECING LANGUAGE TOGETHER

[Green Light]

“Disease Of Language” is a new compilation of Eddie Campbell’s comic book interpretation of two of Alan Moore’s spoken word CDs, “The Birth Caul” and “Snakes & Ladders.”

As I’ll never tire of boring people with, I was at the recording of “The Birth Caul” and found it a very moving experience. The CD gives me an instant flashback, but the comic book gives me a totally different and equally valid slice, with new layers of depth. Which makes for a rather multi-layered cake.

160 pages, hardcover from Knockabout (also the new publishers of “League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen”). Available January 2006, for $19.99 or £12.99.

FLASH FLIP FLOP

[Green Light]

Thar be spoilers. Flash related ones.

Wally lives.

PATY CAKED

[Green Light]

Paty Cockrum, ex-Marvel bullpenner and wife of X-Men artist and Nightcrawler creator Dave Cockrum, hasn’t been exactly shy of speaking out of late.

For webmag “Scream If You Want It,” she has been documenting her time spent at Marvel, the good and the bad. Amusing anecdotes. Insightful stories. An insider’s view rarely reported. However, in the last two columns, made within days of each other, Paty made some seriously strong allegations against current Marvel editing and publishing policy, as well as some of the most prominent comic creators today.

In her third column for the site, she wrote about the secretive nature of “House Of M” asking, “Could it be that the anti-Semites at Marvel have finally made their BIG move?”

She proceeds to read “between the lines.” And in doing so, seems to see into a parallel dimension. Paty first reports a scenario that never happened. Where Avi Arad battles Joe Quesada over the changes made to the character of Magneto in Grant Morrison’s run, opposed to “Chris Claremont’s 1980s depiction of a complex, driven adversary who had honor and intelligence (and was actually right in many of his arguments) and demanded that the characters be returned to their heroic origins!”

However, from my own sources, Avi Arad, while making his displeasure about certain character treatment clear, namely that of a cold-war misogynist racist Nick Fury in “Fury” and the gay interpretation of “The Rawhide Kid,” on Planet X, he had no such comment.

Grant Morrison reverted Magneto to his villainous origins, while incorporating all that the likes of Claremont had added to his character, using abuse of the drug “Kick” to make the character’s mental transformation into a mass murderer again.

And in the films, directed by Bryan Singer, Magneto is a murderer who, by the end of the second movie, attempts to wipe out humanity in a single genocidal act.

But Paty continued, “In typical racist form, Morrison had taken a character and made him so vile that he supposed that Magneto fans would flee the character for good. I mean… if Magneto had to be Jewish, they were gonna make him as vile as they possibly could by turning him into the very thing he hated… a crematoria-building, innocents-burning monster.”

Typical racist form. Grant Morrison. Anyone who knows Grant personally or is familiar with his writing would find it very hard to equate those two. Whether in “Animal Man,” “The Invisibles,” “The Filth” or “Zenith,” Morrison has explored racism as part of a story, and the reader has been left in no doubt of the author’s intent. Much of Grant Morrison’s work can be seen as a direct statement against bigotry.

But Paty continues. “The fans did not desert either Claremont or Magneto and rallied to Claremont’s new Excalibur… a book that grew out of Arad’s tirade that generated the ‘Reload’ thing.”

“Excalibur’s” existence was indeed to appeal, retain and placate Claremont fans, preserving a fanbase at Marvel. However fans did not “rally” to it, the book received significantly lower sales than other X-books, especially Grant Morrison’s “New X-Men.”

Paty concluded as to why this was all happening. “Firstly, a jealousy of Claremont’s body of work that borders on obsession and mania. Secondly, a total hate of the fact that Magneto, after being revealed to have a Holocaust background, a Jewish heritage, and a huge fandom following because of this complexity of characterization, got more love and/or lust from female fandom than the pud-pullers, themselves!”

But this was just the start. With mentions of “racism” and “Jewish heritage” the allegations seemed clear, if not expressly stated. Well, not compared with what was to come.

Paty’s following column kicked things up a notch.

Because it was now time for Mark Millar to be targeted. “Avengers Dissassembled’ and its followup “House Of M,” were instigated by Mark Millar at an infamous editorial meet a couple of years ago – and it was these stories and the way they treated Magneto, that formed uncontradictable evidence of anti-semitism at Marvel. Finally, the A word. Or the A-S word. Whatever.

This, Marvel. the New York comics publisher, its history created by Stanley Lieber (Stan Lee) and Jacon Kurtzberg (Jack Kirby). Its current Chief Executive Officer Isaac Perlmutter. Hell, its board of directors could be seen as proof positive to right wing extremist nuts that the media is run by a Zionist conspiracy– well, the media that’s involved with publishing the adventures of fancy men and women in flashy tights.

Again, the fact that Mark Millar is a socialist, anti-bigot doesn’t stop Paty here– though she manages to avoid mentioning the actual writer of “Avengers Dissembled” and “House Of M,” Brian Michael Bendis, possibly due to the slight problem that he’s Jewish and the son of a Rabbi. Still.

Paty then goes on to see Joe Quesada’s earlier statements that his position at Marvel could be temporary, as proof that he was being forced out by a fan backlash against the treatment of Magneto and the X-Men. As opposed to contract negotiations by PR as occurs, ooh, everywhere in the entertainment industry.

The evidence for all this? That “Astonishing X-Men” writer Joss Whedon wasn’t part of the “House Of M” planning, because he’d have blown the whistle on all the anti-semitism. Which Joss himself puts down to the original schedule on the book, which then slipped.

Thankfully, Paty finds more evidence of Mark Millar’s anti-semitism in a recent, much hyped, issue of “Wolverine,” set in the German concentration camps.

During the issue, Millar makes an ironic comparison between a Nazi justification for the Holocaust with the US justification for the Iraq war. It’s a snide, satirical point, that’s meant to jar with the reader.

However, for Paty, “The story equates victims of the Holocaust– the whole Holocaust tragedy– with modern day rabid American exploitation of the middle east (as viewed by the snobbish Brit/Scots aristocracy of Morrison and Millar…”

Stop here for a second. Amid the madness that states that Millar is equating the victims of the Holocaust with the Middle East, when he’s doing no such thing, she talks about a snobbish aristocracy embodied by Morrison and Millar. Grant and Mark. Snobbish aristocrats. Yeeeeeeeessss….

Paty is briefly distracted by the fact that this story contradicts previously established continuity. But she then returns, stating, “The boyos, having seen the issue printed, finally knew they had gone too far and showed their sentiments for what they were… blatant anti-Semitism and racism. No subtleties to tone it down. Bald-faced and blatant.”

This, folks, over a copy of an issue of “Wolverine” that’s a haunting, chilling reminder of the Holocaust, with input from the late, great, Will Eisner, who took an interest in this particular issue. That’s Will Eisner, folks. Ooh yes, famed anti-semite, that Will Eisner.

And apparently, the current Marvel editorial summit is to find a way to cover themselves up on the whole “Wolverine” story.

So where is all this coming from? Paty is clearly a fan of Magneto, specifically one iteration of his character (persumably not the one her husband drew, when he created a volcano in the middle of a city). But to take from that the belief that Marvel, Marvel of all places, is a thriving pit of anti-semitism, where Jewish creators are forced to create self-hating works that portray Magneto as a mass murderer… presumably somehow including Bryan Singer on” X-Men 2.”

But the thing is, this isn’t the first time.

Paty has been a long time contributor to the Nightcrawlers forum, devoted to the fuzzy elf himself, created by Dave Cockrum and brought to the X-Men title. Paty and the forum have campaigned for financial recompense from Marvel for the exploitation of the character, which has, in part been received. This column has covered much of that struggle.

But earlier this year, Paty took a new approach over the cancellation of “Excalibur,” the treatment of the character Magneto, the writer Chris Claremont and her personal boycott of Marvel. She started to outline the theories that have taken shape recently in the column, with Claremont being pushed out to make way for “House Of M.” But it was describing Marvel staff and creators as “ratzis” that got the board’s moderators a little more than upset. Paty defended her choice of words, saying she’s like to call them “neo nazis,” but had no proof, only the treatment of Magneto and his Jewish heritage. As her language increased in intesity, longtime poster and Cockrum supporter “Bamfette” pleaded the opposite case– showing Marvel’s longtime respect and use of Judaism, Jewish characters and Jewish personnel.

But then Paty added a totally new take. And something which might put her recent columns into perspective– a discrepancy in her thyroid output. She had successful radiation therapy to deal with it and claims her belligerance went away– and blames that emotion on the posts she would make while calmer heads might have not pressed the send button. On the basis of these columns, she’s button pushing again.

Then on Sunday, she added a fifth column where she stated that she never called Joe Quesada anti-semitic. Which is true, she didn’t. She called Grant Morrison and Mark Millar anti-semites, and attributed that quality to Marvel’s actions, without specifically naming Joe Quesada in that.

I don’t think this can end well. Maybe that helmet’s too tight.

MONSTER REP

[Green Light]

Leah Moore and John Reppion have announced they’re contributed to the anthology collection, “The Dark Horse Book Of Monsters,” published next year. They imply that it should be quite a star studded affair…

SCANDAL

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Remember that piece on downloading comics? For those of you unwilling to go the bittorrent route, one blog, Daily Scans, does just that– featuring classic moments from the past as well as commentary on current comics.

DREDDING THE FUTURE

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The Guardian blogs the present with the past version of the future. Oh just go and read it.

FLYING FRIAR SIGNINGS

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On the publication of “The Flying Friar” in December, I’ll be doing signings at Gosh Comics. Only thing is, Gosh Comics won’t be promoting the event. Because they don’t actually know about it. A few people have asked me though, so on the Thursday the book is released, at 6.30pm I’ll be downstairs in the basement with a pen.

Guerrilla book signings. Is this a first?

Also: The Catholic Herald are running a piece on “The Flying Friar” shortly. Expect that to get picked up by the Catholic press worldwide. And for some comic shops to suddenly get a very different clientele…

“Excuse me, sir, what comic book would you recommend for my sisters and myself?”

Also. Working on a new comic project. 48 pages, it needs two distinct artists, 24 pages each. The first is slice of life, British talking heads. People, apartments, police, lifestyle. The second needs to be slick and smooth, portraying a “realistic” superhero. My ideal would be Ilya/Terry Moore/Eddie Campbell/Philip Bond for the first, Tony Harris/John Cassaday/Bryan Hitch/Chris Weston for the second.

Anyone interested, richjohnston@gmail.com

And finally, a full preview of Chase Variant in “Event Horizon,” by me and Bagwell.

SMALL PRINT

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum.

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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