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Welcome to the one hundred and twenty-eighth 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.

THE ALAN MOORE STAGE INTERVIEWS

[Green Light]

“I’ve always sympathised with Brian Eno’s theory, that if you were a mechanic you’d want to know what to look for under the hood if the car seized up. I’m dependent on writing for a living, so really it’s to my advantage to understand how the creative process works.” – Alan Moore

Last week, LITG mentioned that comedian and director/co-writer of “Jerry Springer The Opera”, Stewart Lee was to interview Alan Moore on stage as part of a new BBC Radio 4 show “Chain Reaction”.

The date has been confirmed for this Thursday the 9th of December, The Institute Of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London W1N (Oxford Circus tube) at 7.30pm

You can book free tickets for the recording, this Thursday evening, in London, by clicking here. Feel free to mention “Lying In the Gutters” in the space where it asks where you heard about the show.

But as we stated last week, that’s not all. Alan Moore will sit in the interviewer’s chair the next week, interviewing legendary musician and music producer Brian Eno – one of Alan Moore’s most influential creators.

Founder of “Roxy Music,” Eno’s had a critically acclaimed solo career and produced U2’s albums “The Joshua Tree,” “Unforgettable Fire,” “Zooropa” and “Achtung Baby” as well as working with David Bowie, Talking Heads and James. Modern audiences may be familiar with his soundtrack work for films such as “Trainspotting,” “Heat” and “Y Te Mama Tambien” – and even Neil Gaiman’s TV series “Neverwhere.”

That will be a lunchtime recording, and if you fail to get seats for the first show, the second should be a lot easier to come by. Click here for those seats. Again, mentioning Lying In The Gutters in the appropriate spot would be appreciated.

There’s likely to be a pub meet up afterwards. Check the LITG forum for details.

For those unable to attend the recordings, Lying In the Gutters will provide broadcast times, when they’re available. And for those outside the UK, Radio 4 stream all their shows, and Chain Reaction will be available on the internet for a limited period. Lying In The Gutters will provide links when available.

TURNING A CRISIS INTO A DRAMA

[Yellow Light]

The Crisis 2 saga continues. Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Phil Jiminez, it appears that “Identity Crisis” and other events across the DC Universe will provide plot points that will all tie into next summer’s extravaganza at DC. Look for a number of books to start kicking things off.

An early indicator will be in the “Adam Strange” series. Keep your eyes open over there for something that will kick off Crisis 2… whether in the book, or on a spinoff series entitled “The Rann/Thangar War.”

I’m told other events contributing to the overall revamping and adrenaline injection of the DC Universe include “Day of Vengance,” “Villains United” and “Amazons Attack.”

And recently in an issue of “Teen Titans” written by Geoff Johns, Batman (The Adult Tim Drake) mentions a crisis that happened not long after the Titans got sucked into the future.

Start joining the dots, people.

A MINOR DETAIL

[Green Light]

A couple of weeks ago, the cover to “Spectacular Spider-Man” 25 went live. Written by Samm Barnes, with the description “The most talked about Spider-Man story of the year continues, as the offspring of Gwen Stacy puts the moves on Peter Parker!”

That offspring being eight years old, with an advanced aging syndrome.

So yes, people did indeed start talking about it.

J. Michael Straczynski, writing the lead book “Amazing Spider-Man” which kicked off this particular storyline, popped onto a Usenet thread already bulging with disgusted-of-Tumbridge-Wellses to state that he hadn’t seen the cover until now, disapproved of it, and that it didn’t portray that issue’s story content accurately.

BONUS BALLS

[Green Light]

DC Comics employees can look forward to a merrier Christmas this year, due to Time Warner’s overall policy change regarding stock options, everyone’s getting a Christmas bonus. Something that hasn’t happened for quite some time.

There was a big meeting last Friday afternoon to announce it and everyone is pretty happy. Considering company morale, it was a nice boost. It means an extra week or two weeks of salary. It’s based on performance, but the odds are that everyone should get a little stocking stuffer.

Maybe they can spend it on storage for all their comps.

SHOCK BID

[Green Light]

Of course, not everyone gets as many comps as they like. The winner of this little eBay lot of Dwayne McDuffie’s Static comic was… Dwayne McDuffie.

Say, I wonder how much issues of Holed Up are going for?

And my little eBay lot is coming to an end today and tomorrow, so I’ve thrown a few DVDs and GameCube games in there to spice it up. Buddy, can you spare a feedback?

BOOKS OF SINUpdated 12/6/04 8:30 PM PST

[Green Light]

Press releases to cinemas have mentioned novelisations of the “Sin City” movie, should any cinemas want to order and sell them.

I understand this may be clueless PR – Frank has not signed over rights for such items, though he has pushed the possibility of the “Sin City” graphic novels being sold in this manner.

COMIC BOOK HACKSAdded 12/6/04 8:30 PM PST

[Green Light]

In the last week at least three comic book sites were all hacked through their message boards, all running older versions of message board software that had huge exploits. The week before, Newsarama went down in a similar fashion.

It apears some hacker out there is possibly targeting comic sites as a means to gain access to servers to do nasty stuff. It’s probably not that the hacker hates comics or anything of that sort, more he’s probably found that comic site owners are lax in updating their off-the-shelf software and exploits will be easy to find.

You might want to make sure your message board, blog, ecommerce and any other off-the-shelf software you run is operating with the most recent revisions.

That is, unless you really like your screen plastered with “pR0N RuleZ.” Maybe you do.

IT’S RANEY MEN

[Green Light]

Yet more Tom Raney covers with people standing moodily behind blue lightning-riven clouds.

Does the sun never shine in this man’s world?

TRANSFARMERS

[Yellow Light]

Sadly Destination Entertainment are not going to be hosting the next Transformers Convention nor the Collectors Club. But expect an announcement as to who will be later this month, and DE ito be involved with that company. Their stock from the previous company is merely that.

Though it might not be too alarming to suggest that DE people may be writing Transformers comics for the relevant license holder next year.

Talking of which, what’s the latest with the Dreamwave Vs McDonaugh/Patyk situation?

Issue 10 of the “Transformers G1” series was their last, and the overarching storyline outline for G1 has not been made available to Dreamwave. Recent interviews with new writers Chris Sarracini and Simon Furman have Chris stating, “Some of the previous writers have set in place some twisting storylines and unique character details that I intend to build on to a certain degree.”

However, if the previous creators have not been paid for certain stories and concepts, then ownership is suddenly up in the air and lawyers might start running with open hands ready to catch.

There appear to be a few other unpaid freelance creators at Dreamwave right now, some unwilling to continue work unless paid for previous assignments.

Look for those mass recruitment drives at local art schools and fan websites any day now.

SMARTER THAN THE AVERAGE MOTHERFUCKER

[Yellow Light]

I’ve been told that some test footage of a CGI Yogi Bear was sent to “a certain London post production house” to be composited into a live action background plate. They are colour correcting the plate, and merging in shadows.

Bizarrely the character speaks, edited together with dialogue from other films. Specifically for Yogi, dialogue from Samuel Jackson films.

And people are up in arms at Colin Salmon being favourite for James Bond (a casting LITG had down months ago…) – what will they make of a Black Yogi?

Warner Brothers, what’s going on here?

EVERYONE’S MAD ABOUT MODOK

[Green Light]

Two weeks ago, I linked to the Journal Of MODOK Studies and I’m told it resulted in a “LOT” of orders. So much so that the publisher has had to go back to print and tells me orders will be fulfilled by Last Gasp this week. Oh, and there’s another issue out for Christmas.

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:rich.johnston@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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