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Welcome to the one hundred and fifth 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.

So there you go.

WORLD’S FAVOURITE… BUT NOT WARNERS’

[Yellow Light]

Sandy Collara, the creator of the Batman/Aliens/Predator fan film “Batman: Dead End” that got so many people talking last year has just done a kind of sequel, this time with Batman and Superman. However, this time Sandy has been told by Comic-Con International San Diego representatives that Warner Brothers has requested this film be not shown.

And so it won’t be.

Unless, of course, people kick up a stink…

Is Harry Knowles reading this column again this week?

Updated 12:00 PM – David Glanzer from Comic-Con International contacted CBR to clarify what’s happened. Apparently CCI received what Glanzer termed “a very cordial letter” from WB legal that said they’re exercising their rights to protect their copyrights and would appreciate if CCI would not show any films with their copyrighted characters. It’s not just limited to the above mentioned film. But I reckon last year’s high profile movie was the inspiration. CCI has complied with the request.

STRAY BATART

[Green Light]

Talking of Batman projects that won’t happen – remember the David Lapham/Bill Sienkiewicz project LITG broke, then broke the news that it had been abandoned?

Just to rub it in, here’s some of the would-have-been artwork…

And if you’ve got deep pockets, you can buy the originals here.

ID CHECK

[Green Light]

I understand Chris Ryall, best known probably for his work for Kevin Smith’s website MoviePoopShoot is the new editor-in-chief of IDW.

Speaking of IDW, check out an Waiting For Tommy interview I did with IDW President, Ted Adams. After the interview was concluded, he decilined to comment on the rumour about Chris. Chris did not return emails.

FUTURE COVER ART

[Green Light]

This is cover art to Warren Ellis’ “Angel Stomp Future” by Juan Jose Ryp, part of the previously announced “Apparat Singles Group” line from Avatar Press.

SIZE OF THE COW

[Green Light]

I understand Top Cow have just closed two major deals for overall film/TV representation and interactive rights. The financial influx from these deals is expected to help Top Cow compete with the big guys for creators and projects, as well as provide a much needed marketing push to their titles.

With Top Cow expecting preliminary sales on “Humankind” to be in the low sixty thousands, that’s a first issue start that beats their last high profile debut, “Wanted.” It might also provide a handy bridge in terms of retailer and consumer awareness of Top Cow before Marc Silvestri’s new Top Cow project starting in early 2005.

Expect some big movie-media coverage of Top Cow in the next few weeks.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE TWO YEARS MAKES

[Yellow Light]

A couple of years ago, while Rob Liefeld was posting on the SpinnerRack forum, whenever an Image story or Liefeld story would appear on Newsarama, a poster called ‘LuisLopez’ would appear slamming Image using the same rhetoric as Rob’s Spinnerrack posts and raving about Liefeld.

Though they were posting under differing IP addresses, and Liefeld still denies it, Erik Larsen, Robert Kirkman and others believed LuisLopez to be Rob Liefeld. Indeed, one of LuisLopez’s first posts was to slag off Kirkman’s first gig for Image, saying “After reading this piece about the Super Patriot, I have to wonder- does anyone actually care? Ok that just might be my own cynicism there. But the funny thing is, with the 10 year Anniversary of Image, I’m less interested in expensive hardback with lackluster art by the ‘leftovers’ of the founders, or a Expsnive WHO’s WHO hardcover of Spawn (without mcFarlane artwork), or more inferno and other characters i have no attachement for by Silvestri, Dragon #100 and Patriot and anything else that larsen is pimping make me yawn , and Valentino who was always known as a scrub penciler is now the scrub publisher (way to let Pat Lee go and make a 31 book!). Instead give me a pick of JIM LEE doing Batman, Liefeld teaming up with that mark millar fella on youngblood, or Whilce Portacio new look Stormwatch. Those are the things that will get me rushing to stores on wednesdays.”.

Kirkman’s response was to post “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, Rob. Can’t wait to read Bloodsport, Mr. Liefeld.”

This week, Kirkman’s and Liefeld’s “Youngblood: Imperial” #0 was announced.

Ironic, considering Kirkman then believed it was Liefeld criticising him for “dusting off an older Image property, giving it a face lift, and breaking it out to cash in on some sort of 90s nostalgia” and later referred to Kirkman as one of Larsen’s cronies perpetuating crappy slurs in an effort to discredit him. I understand Image sources still believe the two to be the same….

MERE PLAYTHINGS

[Green Light]

Some people wonder who my many sources around the comic book industry are. Presidents and publishers? Embitterred execs looking to release some karma before the company collapses Enron-style? Embittered staff, one mistake short of a firing? Freelancers who want to open a can of diarrhoea on their bosses heads but still want a pay cheque? Or people rummaging around in bins looking for unshredded documents saying “Dan Didio: My Plan Of Action.”

Well obviously. But sometimes they’re just people doing the shopping.

“I went to Target today, and saw some stuff that was interesting. The Spider-Man 2 Action Figures were all marked down. They’re not moving fast enough. They are going to reduce the number of pegs to Spider-Man to a minimal amount. Weird huh? Especially since the movie hasn’t hit yet.”

Well, I couldn’t interpret any of that. Maybe you guys could?

HANDBAGS ACROSS THE POND

[Yellow Light]

A bitch-fight involving ATP Comics kicked off this week. Between allegations that a creator was breaking his contract to return to a previous publisher, denials from current publisher and the creator, with allegations that it was only the breaking news that caused the creator to recant, and lawyers issuing writs back and forth, people were left wondering who exactly ATP and Vicious Circle were!

Well, why not find out!

LINKS AND CROSSGEN

[Yellow Light]

So what messageboard entries have I been reading this week?

Rather than just cut and paste, why not read them for yourself?

http://www.livejournal.com/users/moonandserpent/166978.html

http://www.imagecomics.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=41413

http://www.brokenfrontier.com/forum/

viewtopic.php?t=8454&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=80

Actually, on that last one, I’ve been informed by ex-CrossGen staff that the “corrupted files” excuse from CrossGen as to why titles were delayed for one week, was concocted by a CrossGen VP at the behest of the boss, as a result of Quebecor cutting CrossGen off as they’d reached their credit limit and refused to print any more titles until the debt was reduced. Alessi thought Quebecor were bluffing. They weren’t.

CrossGen then wired them the money, but it was too late. The books were then printed the following week.

A few weeks later the freelance cheques started drying up.

So… what CrossGen nonsense can we fill your ears with this week?

Well, here’s a copy of the invitation that’s been going around to CrossGen creditors. If you know someone who hasn’t received this yet, pass it on…

Adobe Acrobat Required

Public records are fascinating things, from which one can draw all sorts of assumptions. The following appears to show CrossGen was sued by their landlord for non-payment of rent. CrossGen had three suites – their main suite and two side suites. This landlord was the landlord for the latter.

Uniform Case Pinellas Case Section Case Type Type
522004CA000406XXCICI 04000406CI 020 CONTRACT CI
Style: CHOICEPOINT SERVICES INC
vs. CROSSGENERATION COMICS INC
Jury Trial STIP NOTH Reason Type Disp.
Y JDMT
Filling Date Appeal Date Judg. Date Reop Date Docket Date
01/16/04 03/23/04
Case/Cat
C&I BREACH OF CNTRCT

06/04/04 DEFENDANT NOTICE OF COMPLIANCE W/COURTS ORDER 032304 F 06/01/04 DEFENDANT NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT F 04/29/04 DEFENDANT MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT F 04/28/04 PLAINTIFF NOTICE OF HEARING 052704 9:00 F 04/06/04 PLAINTIFF RECORDING OF JDMT LIEN - FEE PAID $28.50 N 04/06/04 CLERK C/C JUDGEMENT MADE/HANDED RECORDING N 04/05/04 PLAINTIFF PRAECIPE FOR RECORDATION OF JDMT AS LIEN F 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF FINAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR13456PG2349-006 F 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF JUDGMENT N 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF NOTICE NON-COMPLIANCE OF ADM. ORDER 86-44 F 02/27/04 PLAINTIFF NOTICE OF HEARING 032304 9:00 F 02/27/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT OF ATTORNEY FEES F 02/27/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT OF ATTORNEY FEES F 02/27/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT OF INDEBTEDNESS F 02/27/04 PLAINTIFF MOTION SUMMARY JUDGMENT F 01/16/04 CLERK SUMMONS TO PROCESS SERVER N 01/16/04 PLAINTIFF CIVIL COVER SHEET F 01/16/04 PLAINTIFF COMPLAINT F 01/16/04 PLAINTIFF CIRCUIT CIVIL FILING FEE PAID $155.00 N 01/16/04 PLAINTIFF THIS CASE ASSIGNED BY CLERK TO SECTION 020 BY 3859 - RANDOM CI N

It also appears that MV Creations sued CrossGen for Breach of Contract and lack of payment:

Name: MV CREATIONS LLC
Person Id: @4061989 SOID:
Party: P001 Party Status: Opened
UCN: 292003CA011144P001TA
Case Number: 03-CA-011144
Case Created: 11/26/2003
Division: B Case
Status: Opened
Case Type Description: CONTRACT & INDEBTEDNESS
Court Type: CIRCUIT CIVIL

------------------------------------- Docket Charge Status Sentence Minutes Scheduling Active Parties Personal Due Date -------------------------------------

Filter By: Current Party: All Parties:

Filing Date Party Type Description Text 05/10/2004 P001 MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT 04/30/2004 NOT OF MEDIATION CONFERENCE 04/30/2004 P001 NOT OF MEDIATION CONFERENCE 04/05/2004 ANSWER & DEFENSES OF CROSSGEN ENTERTAINMENT, INC 03/22/2004 STIPULATION OF THE PARTIES 03/19/2004 P001 AMENDED COMPLAINT 03/19/2004 COPY OF----------------------- STIP 03/19/2004 LETTER TO COURT FROM JEANNETTE H JUMPER 03/19/2004 ORDER FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT GRANTED 3/18/04 VCM 03/15/2004 AMENDED COMPLAINT 03/15/2004 STIPULATION PERMITTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT 11/26/2003 P001 RECEIPT 26-NOV-2003,$205.00, USER ID = LOPREST, RECEIPT NO = 306336 11/26/2003 CIVIL COVER SHEET 11/26/2003 P001 COMPLT/PET FILED FEE PAID 11/26/2003 SUMMONS ISSUED X1

Under the Code Six agreement, CrossGen collected the revenues for the sales of the books, and was supposed to send on the money, minus fees and expenses, directly to MVC.

They didn’t get a cent.

And one more: ADP Payroll Services. CrossGen ran a payroll and did not have funds to cover the draw. ADP cut checks to the employees and honoured them, but were owed $155,000.

The following appears to show that ADP sued, CrossGen defaulted by not answering, then CrossGen tried to answer, and Summary Judgement was entered in favor of ADP.

Uniform Case Pinellas Case Section Case Type Type
522004CA002289XXCICI 04002289CI 020 CONTRACT CI
Style: ADP SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES INC
vs. CROSS GENERATION COMICS INC
Jury Trial STIP NOTH Reason Type Disp.
Y
Filling Date Appeal Date Judg. Date Reop Date Docket Date
03/23/04
Case/Cat
C&I BREACH OF CNTRCT

05/05/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT AS TO COSTS F 05/05/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT OF COUNSEL IN SUPPORT OF FEES/TIME F 05/05/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT OF ATTORNEY FEES F 05/05/04 PLAINTIFF AFFIDAVIT OF INDEBTEDNESS F 05/05/04 PLAINTIFF NOTICE OF FILING AFFIDAVITS F 05/05/04 PLAINTIFF NOTICE OF HEARING 061704 10:15 F 05/05/04 PLAINTIFF MOTION SUMMARY JUDGMENT /FOR COURT COSTS/ATTY FEES F 04/21/04 DEFENDANT AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES F 04/21/04 DEFENDANT ANSWER OF: CROSS GENERATION COMICS INC N 04/19/04 CLERK CROSS GENERATION COMICS INC F 04/19/04 CLERK DEFAULT ENTERED / N 04/16/04 PLAINTIFF MOTION FOR DEFAULT F 04/05/04 CLERK SUMMONS RETD SERVED CROSS GENERATION COMICS INC 032204 F 04/05/04 PLAINTIFF NOTICE OF FILING SUMMONS F 03/23/04 CLERK SUMMONS TO PROCESS SERVER N 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF CIVIL COVER SHEET F 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF COMPLAINT F 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF CIRCUIT CIVIL FILING FEE PAID $155.00 N 03/23/04 PLAINTIFF THIS CASE ASSIGNED BY CLERK TO SECTION 020 BY 8063 - RANDOM CI N

VANLENTINO’S DAY

[Yellow Light]

What’s up with Image Central’s staff right now? Well, while some are appearing in court while Tony Twist appeals against the failed appeal over his alleged appearance in “Spawn,” a few glitches have been slipping through.

Take “The Walking Dead,” a fine title from Image. Indeed, the eight issue had a quote praising the fantastic book and high production values on the back cover. However, the quote itself was laid out like a bad poem with mid-sentence breaks, after being delivered in a plain text e-mail.

Also, check the ad on the back of the upcoming Free Comic Book Day Image Comic (and possibly other titles) for “Normalman.” It lists the creator as Jim Vanlentino instead of Valentino. Now, I’ve always been one to embrace my own typos like truculent children. But just because he’s no longer your boss, there’s no reason to diss his romantic nomenclature like that. Although, Jim would have had to approve that ad…

BIG TRAKK

[Green Light]

Apparently the cancelled-due-to-low-sales-Image-titles “Trakk” and “Realm Of The Claw” from Stan Winston are being relaunched as a trade paperback. So those of you who loved the two published issues of each… be prepared to pay for them again as part of two TPBs collecting what would have been the whole twelve issues.

STICKY CREDIT

[Green Light]

John Staton works for Insight Studios, who have published, amongst many things, comics by Frank Cho before he moved to Image and Marvel.

About two years ago, he did a picture for Dreamwave Productions featuring the characters from the anime “Bubblegum Crisis 2040.” The picture was supposed to be from Frank Cho originally, but he didn’t have time and offered the job to John. So John proceeded to draw the image featuring the cast of the series, fully inked and colored.

Somewhere, the decision was made to have Frank ink the faces to seem more in line with Frank’s usual art style. Frank then inked in the faces of two characters, which were then amended in the colouring process by John.

However, every time that image seems to get used, it’s advertised as being by Frank Cho – John never seems to get a mention. First by Wizard Magazine a while ago (with the followup line from John saying “I have assurances fron Dreamwave that future advertisements will give me credit for my work.”)

Then there’s the current, unchanged listing by Dreamwave on their Web site (with even more altered faces) and “With crazy and curvy art by Frank Cho, master of the pin-up girl”

And then in the Dreamwave section of the new Previews, the image is printed again and credited solely to Frank Cho.

Still, I hear Dreamwave may have more important things to worry about now. Any creators with problems at Dreamwave, feel free to email me…

Thanks to Gutterati Johnny Japanese Tidalwave for this.

Updated 12:00 PM – Frank Cho told me, “I didn’t know that this was happening. Hell, I didn’t know that they were finally putting this poster out. It’s been over 2 years. I completely forgot about it.

“John Staton deserves all the credit. John did a phenomenal job on this poster. As I recall, John actually drew the original art in poster size. I only inked and tweaked the women. The credit should read ‘Art by John Staton and assisted by Frank Cho.’ I hope that Dreamwave corrects this grave mistake.”

SWIPE FILE SWIPED

[Green Light]

It’s been a long time since the old Swipe File website died. So why think of a new idea for a regular slot, when you can just nick an old one?

One page from the new Captain America

Another page from an not-too-recent Ron Garney Captain America

Check out those posed henchmen.

NILES AND NILES

[Green Light]

Steve Niles has written two new stories for the comic book “Periphery” comicng out from O-P-P, debuting in San Diego. Here’s a sneaky peeky.

BLESS YOU

[Green Light]

The Wachowski Siblings are appearing at Comicon. Now I hear they are both officially writing Doc Frankenstein, the Steve Skroce book coming out from Burlyman, they’ve got a lot of comics to talk about too!

Thanks to Gutterati daniel robert epstein for this one…

OH, MARK…

[Green Light]

Mark Millar’s noted for having next to no knowledge about computers. Indeed, he seems to have the ability to make them explode at the touch of a button. He’s infamous for using his Millarworld website to ask for help with the most mundane of computer related problem. You know the kind of guy, computer call centres are full of stories about him.

But, to be fair, getting the Millarworld website up and running (with a lot of help) was seen as something impressive on his part, though clearly a lot of others did a lot of work on it. But still, you know, not bad Mark.

Yesterday the domain name expired. Millar had forgotten to renew it.

Oh Mark…

Updated 12:00 PM – To access Millarworld, go to http://www.millarworld.net

CHANGING CONTACTS

[Green Light]

Rich Johnston can now be contacted at… richjohnston@gmail.com – please amend your contact lists.

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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