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Welcome to the one hundred and thirty-seventh chapter in the latest volume of the long-running gossip and rumour column for the comic book industry. Over ten years damnit! Written by British comics commentator, me, Rich Johnston, it’s read by comic book professionals and readers alike. Loved and hated equally, every Monday (ish) it brings the stories not-quite-ready-for-primetime, a look behind the curtain, a sniff of the toilet seat, the worst and the best that the comics industry can inspire. Go in with your eyes open, your blinkers off and a peg on your nose.

As for the traffic lights, RED means that the story is unlikely to be true, and you should read that with that context. AMBER signifies an identifiable agenda/slant or bias in the source that may affect the work, or that the source isn’t clear, or another factor that might bring the piece into doubt. GREEN means that the story feels right to me, my gut instinct says go for it. However, as is often the case, while the gist may be correct, the detail may be wrong – and in fact I may be having an off day and the whole thing may be buggered. It wouldn’t be the first time

As this column goes live, I will be flying across the ocean waiting for jet lag to hit me. But knowing that I couldn’t deprive readers of a Lying In The Gutters this week, I prepared a special mini-LITG. I hope you mini-enjoy it.

HUNTERS, KILLERS AND PIRATES

[Green Light]

And now for a sneak peek at the cover to Top Cow’s flagship title “Hunter-Killer” issue 2, by regular monthly artist and studio head Marc Silvestri.

And while we’re in the same ball park, the return of another Silvesti-originated project in a very different form indeed, “Darkness: Black Sails,” marking the return to comics of Keu Cha (“Witchblade,” “Rising Stars”). It’s Darkness Pirate Action all the way, and in store in just two or three days time…

Pirates! Arrrrr! Congrats guys.

TOAST IN THE MACHINEUpdated 2/15/05 9:29 AM Pacific

[Green Light]

A new book in the works at Marvel seems to be a revival of “Machine Man” with a rather snappy title.

Machine Teen.

UPDATE: The writer of Machine Teen is confirmed as Marc Sumerak, and
lined up for the Marvel Next imprint for May.

Editor is Mackenzie Cadenhead, cover artist is James Jean, look for more details as they’re made available.

I NEED A CIGARETTE

[Yellow Light]

There now follows spoilers for the end of “Constantine,” based on the recent DC comic adaptation. I wouldn’t normally do this but Bloody Hell. To spare the sensititivities of those more squeamish about how Hollywood can transform comics into movies, we’ve whited the text out.

Hellblazer readers will be familiar with the end of “Dangerous Habits” when, after forcing the demons of hell to cure his cancer rather than tear Hell apart fighting over his soul, John Constantine lights up a cigarette.

In the movie, however, he spurns his cigarette after his cure and goes for some chewing gum instead. See? He’s learnt his lesson.

Sorry to do that to you. Let the weeping and gnashing of teeth commence.

ROCK OF PAGES

[Green Light]

The Captain Britain page that was missed from X-Men Archives and from the “Captain Britain” trade has been recovered for the new printing. Alan Davis handed the original art to Marvel and the page has been given a jolly good seeing to.

Here’s the page in question, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be buying the second print as well. Just because.

Which will work out as the most I’ve ever paid for a page… but worth it!

A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS

[Green Light]

Short column this week, because as you read this, I’m probably comatose. So a few nice things to share…

My co-worker who didn’t get to go to Los Angeles this weekend, Cindy George, writing her column “A Welcome Distraction.”

Replacing “Chain Reaction” on BBC Radio 4 on Thursdays, “That Mitchell And Webb Sound” with the stars of “Peep Show.” Lovely stuff.

The promo website for new British sitcom “Nathan Barley” at www.trashbat.co.ck – and the website that inspired the show, TVGoHome.

The non-comic related Edgar Wright Jr video for Charlotte Hatherley’s single “Summer.”

Contrary to rumour still rushing around the industry, no I am not writing “Captain Britain.” Haven’t been approached by Marvel to write anything and haven’t pitched anything either.

Though, after recent events, maybe I should…

Normal service returns next week.

RECRUITING IN THE GUTTERS

If you’ve got a story, talk to me. Your identity will remain anonymous unless you wish otherwise. You can choose a pseudonym and join the ranks of the Gutterati. Or be a demon reposter, join the Gutter Snipes and spread the word about stories in this column across the Internet, where relevant. Then tell me where you’ve put them up – the more mainstream the better!

You can contact me at:

  • mailto:richjohnston@gmail.com
  • AOL Instant Message me at TwistRich
  • 0780 1350982 (01144780 1350982 from N America)
  • Anthrax packages can be sent to 8 Robin Hood Lane, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3PU, ENGLAND

Be seeing you.

Discuss this column on the Lying In The Gutters Forum.
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