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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOL 2, COLUMN 7


The vote is in.


Votes for A, continuing the column in its bold “comics journalism direction” – 423. Votes for B, reverting to the muckraking previous version of the column, 634. Spoilt ballot papers 8, unsolicited spam 4, late votes 68.


The previous version of the column has a vote of 60%. Lying In The Gutters will revert to its previous gossip mongering self. But, unlike many governments, Lying In the Gutters believes in one nation representation and will, from time to time, run articles more in keeping with the six week trial – that people who dislike them can simply skip over. But for the main part, downright, dirty nonsense.


Or maybe they can sometimes combine. Take today’s lead.

CRACK DC IN HALF

[Yellow Light]

I’d really like to believe whoever it was at DC who dubbed their logo “DC Spin” (before any such name was withdrawn) knew exactly what they were doing. Current employees seem to be standing in a circle, facing one another’s backs and bludgeoning them with a DC Direct version of a Thanagarian Mace.


Bill Rosemann is still best known for his role as Marketing Communications Manager at Marvel. On leaving, he joined CrossGen as Director of Marketing Communications where, after a spate of resignations and firings, he gained executive roles by default, becoming Senior Vice President at one point. On leaving CrossGen, he joined DC in Creative Services as a Manager.


Two weeks ago however, he was moved to Manager, Marketing Communications at DC, and then days later moved back again to Creative Services. I’m told this is seen by DC employees as a visible sign of a power struggle between Bob Wayne and Stephanie Fierman.


Stephanie Fierman joined DC as Senior Vice President in Sales & Marketing. She is believed to have been brought in as a Senior Vice President ostensibly to grow the graphic novel sales in bookstores, but moreover as an attempt to “shake things up” in a system that had been accused of growing stale. One of her strengths was her lack of knowledge, and therefore lack of preconceptions about the Direct Market – so she joined DC without any such connections.


Bob Wayne is Vice President – Sales (though he was Sales & Marketing before Stephanie’s arrival, though he now has mass market sales to contend with) and has a long standing as an expert in using the direct market as DC’s principle sales tool. This is bolstered by a strong relationship with retailers, who place a large degree of trust in him, and despite its insular nature, the Direct Market provides strong, reliable and non-returnable sales figures. It’s still the backbone of DC’s publishing arm, and recent attempts to expand further into bookstores with CMX, Humanoids and 2000AD have not been as successful as some expected.


Stephanie Fierman has been described as “new school, personable and talks a good game” while Wayne is “old school and has his shit together.” Fierman’s appointment was seen by some employees as a way to lessen Wayne’s prominence within the company, and indeed the company’s reliance on Wayne.


Bill Rosemann’s position in Marketing would have taken over the duties of Director of Sales and Marketing Communications, Patty Jeres. Jeres is currently presumed to be away on sick leave, but it’s not certain as to whether the length of absence is voluntary or not. Jeres has responded to friends and colleagues’ concerns, but has restricted her responses to inquiries about her health, reassuring people her circumstances are not dire, and refraining to comment on either her employment status or her relationship with DC. Jeres has an immensely strong relationship with much of the industry, liked by the vast majority of creators, editors, retailers, publishers, distributors and press. She is arguably the most loved “suit” in the comics industry, and has a considerable power base should she even choose to exercise it. And she’s part of Bob Wayne’s circle of loyal advisors.


Bill’s experience at Marvel and CrossGen could have been seen as a threat to Wayne’s power base – in that he would provide DC with a level of knowledge of the direct market while not being part of Bob’s circle. Rosemann is a familiar name for retailers and press, and he excelled at Marvel, but his time at CrossGen has tainted him, especially considering some of the defences against aggrieved creators issued under his name at CrossGen. Still, like Patty, Bill has over the years earned friends among creators, editors, retailers, publishers, fans and the media.


Informed sources tell me that Bob Wayne strenuously objected to this move, directly to President and Publisher, Paul Levitz. And in a remarkable and unprecedented flip-flop, Paul Levitz reversed the decision, leading to Rosemann’s reversion to his previous position in Creative Services, and the continuation of a limbo at DC, where Jeres’ duties are being shared amongst other employees.


It seems ironic that Bill Rosemann’s initial move may have been part of a powerplay to dilute Bob Wayne’s position at DC Comics. But in doing so, it’s only exposed Bob’s strength and demonstrated how solid it is.


And for Bill’s part this recent series of events has rallied allies, within DC and without, to his side. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that Bill’s move was seen as expediency – someone was needed to fill a work vacuum and he was seen as having the necessary skills. And then everything hit the fan.


Expect a lot of questions to be asked by fans and pros alike at San Diego.

COOKING WITH ALCOHOL

[Green Light]

With convention season upon us, and many budding creators looking to break into comic books, maybe this would be an opportune moment to bring to light the best ways to get work from an editor at a convention.


In the bar during Wizard World LA, Darwyn Cooke had an elbow bumping altercation from behind with Marvel Senior Editor Axel Alonso. Shortly afterwards, while Alonso was in discussion with CB Cebulski, Nick Lowe and others, Cooke returned, picked up Alonso’s pint of Guinness, and threw it over Alonso’s shirt. Alonso stood up, grabbed by Nick Lowe. Cooke asked Alonso if he knew “what this was for” and then left the bar sharpish.


While Cooke has worked for Marvel and Alonso before, I understand there were disagreements over a solicited pitch from Cooke and friends that seemed to them identical to the subsequent Marvel Age line of book published with different creators


This may however be the first DC Exclusive deal ever signed in beer.

‘KING COW

[Green Light]

Zombie King. From Image. Issue 0. Written and drawn by Frank Cho.


What Newsarama skates around is the reason you’re going to want to buy this comic.


Cow fucking. Big splash page.


Moo.


Pharmaceutically born zombies driven to eat, kill and fuck. Not, apparently, marry though. Shame, I think we should all ballot out elective representatives to allow zombie/cattle weddings.

BROUHAHA OVER BWAH HA HA?

[Green Light]

The last panel from “I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League” series running in “JLA Classified.” Blue Beetle and Maxwell Lord yucking it up.


The alternate cover to the “Hero Squared Special,” shipping for convention time, which I’m told will respond to what happened to Giffen’s JLA members since “Identity Crisis” and “Countdown.”


And for old times’ sake, a panel from Justice League 35.


Sigh. I miss the Giffen/DeMatteis JL. Still my favourite. Sigh, again.

PLUGGING MY OWN NONSENSE


My new comic book project, “Political Creatures,” was highlighted by the BBC TV show “The Daily Politics” last week, which saw Pat Mills gush over its painted pages detailing an intensely British political fantasy thriller. The book is currently in search of a publisher. Interested parties are welcome to contact me here. A second episode of my “Chase Variant” series will appear in “Event Horizon” #2, written by me and painted by Bagwell. “Wannabee” #1, the 22 page digest comic from Vicious Circle, written by me and drawn by Thomas Reidy III for physical sale online for $2, download for $1.50. Also available under Vicious Circle in the October Previews, and pickupable by hand from booth F10 and F11 at San Diego. “The Flying Friar” is a 48 page historical superfiction comic being drawn by Thomas Nachlik, with a committed publisher later in the year. I have no idea when “Holed Up” #3 will be published. A new load of eBay stuff just gone up.


Do make sure you try and find a copy of “Licensable Bear TM” #2 from About Comics, the long awaited second issue of one of my favourite comic books. Came out last year. Available in all good comic shops. Also, the best region 2 comedy DVD deal ever.

SMALL PRINT


For other comic and non-comic book related nonsense, check out the Twistblog.


Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum.


Contact me on richjohnston@gmail.com or on AOL Instant Messanger as TwistRich


You can also write to me at 8 Robin Hood Lane, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3PU ENGLAND


Or call me on 0780 135082 from the UK or 01144780 1350982 from the US.

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