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This is the fifty-eighth weekly episode of Lying In The Gutters, the industry’s premier rumour column and gossip sheet. At all times, remember the rumour rules. Red light means it’s probably bullshit, Yellow light means I think there’s an element of truth and Green means you get bet your life on it. Or someone’s life. Not mine, I’ve been wrong before. Take everything you read with a rock of sea salt and if you do repost information here elsewhere, please include a warning to that effect. And a link. Man does not live by hits alone – but I could do with the attention. I blame Wizard.

RUMOURS MOST FOUL

[Yellow Light]

Did we all read last Wednesday’s Waiting For Tommy on New York Spin: Marvel & DC? Good.

It does indeed appear, as the column suggested, that many of last week’s rumours about DC’s planned creators for “Superman,” “Batman” and other titles, were concocted by Marvel. Receiving an early copy of “Wizard Zero,” with the Jim Lee/Brian Azzarello story front and centre, they planted hoax stories in the fan press, including Lying in the Gutters, and persuaded actual creators to back a number of them up when contacted. The plan was to discredit DC’s actual announcements from Chicago by making them impossible to live up to what had been rumoured.

The rumours spread well, some of them even being bounced back by DC staff members, believing they were true. I ended up getting over fifteen sources, from all sides of the industry.

Not everything went to plan. When I actually contacted some creators mentioned who hadn’t been made part of the gameplan, things got a bit out of hand.

Mark Millar half-heartedly backed certain aspects of the rumours up, concerning himself and Hitch on his message board, about getting the chance to work on “Superman” with Hitch, and “JLA” with Pacheco. DC sources disagreed.

One Marvel employee openly took one individual to task for reporting these stories on his weblog, unaware that the employee’s own boss was the source.

There is also the issue that Marvel alleging that their competition DC induced Marvel exclusive creators to break their contract, DC may have grounds for real complaint.

However, Marvel would not have had the opportunity to pull such a stunt, if DC weren’t involved in the “Wizard schedule” for releasing information, relying on Wizard’s lead time, then the delay between subscription copies and distributed copies, rather than their more recent habit of releasing the news as and when they have it.

On the other hand, Lying In The Gutters had its biggest hitting week ever, a record breaking column at Comic Book Resources.

And as for Chicago announcements, here’s a few contenders for what Marvel might be talking about.

BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

[Green Light]

One of the new projects to be announced at Marvel in Chicago is a relaunch for “Daredevil,” with a new No.1 and the return of a very familiar writer, Kevin Smith.

UPDATE:

Brian Bendis denied on his message boards that Daredevil was being relaunched, or that Kevin smith was taking it over. He wrote “untrue…. alex and i, who JUST won an eisner for the book by the way :), are staying, so is the numbering. want to hear how the rumor started? come by my panel at wiz world this saturday.”

Well, I’ll be there I hope…

Adam Kubert is on hand to finish up art chores on the (now-written) “Daredevil/Bullseye: Target” series.

“New X-Men” will also be relaunched with the new creative team, as “X-Men.”

Gabriele Dell’Otto (“The Call” cover artist): is working on a new painted project, a mini-series by Brian Bendis featuring “every-fucking-hero in the Marvel Universe” from Nick Fury to Spider-Man, to Luke Cage to Wolverine.

Two veteran Italian creators, Tito Faraci and Giorgio Cavazzan,o are also working on a US Marvel project, this time for Spider-Man. A one shot story set in Venice…

HOLE UNPLUGGED

[Red Light]

The relaunch of “Daredevil” was confirmed by Marvel’s publishing plans and schedules – leaked by their own website. Certain Gutterati discovered that by changing the date on the URL on the “Out this Week” page, to sometime in the future, they could see certain titles Marvel planned to have published that week. Now, I’ve been told by Marvel sources that this information was provisional, inaccurate and sometimes down-right out of date, but it nevertheless gives some insight into Marvel’s thinking, and some behind-the curtain scenes. Like Bendis’ upcoming series “Pulse” was originally titled “Story.”

Origin writer Paul Jenkins, is writing the other end of the story. “Logan/Wolverine: The End” with art by Claudio Castellini. “Young Xavier” for Epic, is being drawn by Juan Bobillo. Romano Molenaar will provide art on “Emma Frost.” Look for Chris Bachalo to draw an upcoming issue of “New Mutants.” Salvador Larroca Martinez and Scott Hanna return to “X-Treme X-Men” next year. “X-Treme X-Men” goes weekly in December. Ryan Kinnaird will be joining “NYX.”

A whole host of new Marvel comics were listed with the provisional title “Proposal,” some with creators attached. Marvel have already announced “Hawkeye,” but how about a new “Black Panther” project, “Essential Marvel” by Patrick Olliffe, “Iron Fist” by Michael Ryan, “Mutant Town” by Arthur Ranson, “Robots Week”, “Rogue” by Paul Smith, “Sisters Of The Dragon”, “Starjammers” by Kia Asamiya, “Techbinders” by Scott Eaton, a new “Thor” by Ben Lai, “Thor: Fantasy” by Adam Kubert and “Time Out?”

Look for a new “Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra” monthly series as well as an “Ultimate Hulk” series from Mark Millar. Daniel Way is writing a new “Ant-Man” series. There’s a Spider-Man And Friends toyline spinoff by Udon Studios. “Hulk: Nightmericans Abroad” will be a sequel story to the current “Nightamericans,” by Robin Laws, with Leonardo Manco on covers.

Look for the previously rumoured/reported “Startling Stories: The Incorrigible Hulk” #1 by Peter Bagge in November.

Damion Scott and Rob Campanella were intended to draw future “Spectacular Spider-Man” issues. Chuck Austen, Olivier Copiel and Andy Lanning are listed on “Avengers,” though sources close to Austen have denied he’s on the title. “Wolverine” 7 may have art by Leo Fernandez. Look for Sean Chen on “Punisher,” when it relaunches as a MAX title. And “Ultimates” is now planned as a bi-monthly title for the next two years.

Expect this hole to be plugged very shortly.

FANTASTIC OFFER

[Green Light]

As for Mark Waid, Marvel and “Fantastic Four,” it transpires that after the furore about his firing, Marvel offered him the title back. Waid declined – due to a conflicting deal with DC…

FLASH FORWARD

[Yellow Light]

Scott Kollins has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel. So don’t expect him to join his “Flash” co-creator and DC-exclusive Geoff Johns any time soon.

HOUSE OF TIDES

[Yellow Light]

A recent press release from Marvel concerning the extension of Joe Quesada’s position as Editor In Chief, the promotion of Axel Alonso to Executive Editor, Michael Marts to Senior Editor and the establishment of a Talent Relations Department with Dave Bogart and CB Cebulski caused a few tongues to wag.

The promotion of Axel should ensure he remains at Marvel – although his promotion to VP at DC didn’t stop him leaving a week or so afterwards. But CB Cebulski’s new role should also keep him at Marvel as well. And no wonder Michael Marts was reported as being incredibly pleased with himself earlier in the week. In fact the mood of the whole Bullpen was visibly up.

Even Joe Quesada was seen laughing loudly.

News of the exclusives from DC haven’t hit as hard as they might – they’ve still got eighteen months worth of Greg Rucka “Wolverine” and the Morrison “X-Men” shine had lost its glimmer – they see it as more of a personal slight than a business problem.

There have been other, unannounced changes within the company. The press release had quotes from President Allen Lipson – previously he’d only been credited as CEO and General Counsel, President being reserved for Bill Jemas. This has been taken by some as confirmation that Jemas’ public role as the face of Marvel has been curtailed. I hear that Avi Arad has proved successful in creating more President roles at Marvel (a total of three), and a sharing of responsibilities from Jemas to others.

Cory Sidlmeier has also been recently moved from head of trade paperbacks to Epic Editor, alongside Stephanie Moore. He looked pretty pleased with himself this week as well.

What do they have planned? Look for more staff clarification and policy shifting from Marvel in the week up to and including Chicago WizardWorld.

RED SON IN MOURNING?

[Red Light]

Earlier last week Mark Millar stated

“A ‘Red Son’ collection would have been lovely because it’s a very, very hot book, enormously sought-after and very hard to find for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. When I started my post earlier in the week I commended DC for putting this out and was sad to state later that I was told they were still enforcing their blacklist and the book wouldn’t be brought out as a consequence.”

Bob Wayne at DC Comics would like to clear the matter up. He tells me “The ‘Superman: Red Son’ trade paperback is on the publishing schedule at DC.”

Indeed it appears it never left…

ON THE STREETS

[Green Light]

That “Street Fighter” 0 from San Diego has been going ballistic on eBay. Up to three figures. Anyone who picked one up is in line for some serious cash.

And now there are Wizard World “Street Fighter” Zeros. New cover, same insides, lower print run. Here’s the new cover.

And as for Joe Madueria’s work in the upcoming comic that pushed the book way up the charts, here’s a pencilled page from the man… he still seems to have what it takes to drive the fans wild. Looks like it may go the way of “Transformers.”

The poor fools…

AIM AND FIRE

[Green Light]

For a remnant of the now-infamous Micah Wright Epic pitch , Joe/AIM, see if you can snap up this pitch work by artist Rick Remender.

Wright had a tough time of late, fighting off doubts being expressed about his past as a Ranger, and getting flak for his response to his Epic pitch. He rewrote his Web site to say that his Delphi Forum would be closing. However he’s changed his mind, and this stronghold of comics and politics continues.

One post on the Micah Wright forum gave a very revealing CrossGen cover swipe from a reversed magazine cover – maybe that’s a file that needed to be corrupted.

CORRUPTION?

[Yellow Light]

There are rumours that CrossGen’s graphic files weren’t just corrupted, but hacked and that the extra delay is due to extra security being undertaken – and why a software millionaire didn’t have a better firewall. There have also been suggestions that the delay was due to money being owed to the Quebecor printers. And that there has been industrial sabotage from a rival comic company.

It’ll be six foot lizards next.

SUPERSTITIOUS AND COWARDLY LOT

[Yellow Light]

On the last day of the San Diego Comic Con, Kyle Baker was packing away his equipment, when he had to leave his booth briefly. He returned to find his flatscreen monitor missing and a retailer walking out of the convention with it under his arm. You’ve never seen a Baker move so fast.

When called, the police told Kyle that people will get a booth at the con to case the merchandise. Because it was classed as a misdemeanour felony under $400 in value), the perpetrator was ticketed and released.

The police seemed quite familiar with this kind of activity. Maybe something for conventions to look into?

BRIT BAT

[Green Light]

Panini UK, currently reprinting Marvel comics for the news stand and exclusive trades for the bookstores, have just signed their direct competitor. Panini will publish three Batman stories in each volume of “Batman: Legends” for £2.40… that’s about $3.50 US. Quite a bargain – especially when one of those sections will be the Jim Lee/Jeph Loeb “Hush” arc.

This deal means they’ll also be publishing “JLA/Avengers” in their monthly “Avengers Unlimited” title. “Babylon 5” style. They might even get some of those stories out before the US publishers. And again, especially in this case, it represents a much better deal than the US comics. Total cost will be £9.60 – with loads of extra Avengers material thrown in. Cardstock covers as well

DOUBLE YOUR MONEY

[Yellow Light]

Following up on a previous story, it seems that David Gallaher and Moonstone publications have parted company, Moonstone staff openly disparaging Gallaher on their message boards over financial irregularities – which were then deleted.

David Gallaher recently announced that he has moved “Johnny Dollar” away from Moonstone Books – citing creative differences. Apparently, Moonstone wants to continue to publish the book.

It seems that both Gallaher and Moonstone can publish the tales of “Johnny Dollar” due to his public domain condition. Moonstone books hasn’t secured any of the licensing fees for the “Moonstone Noir” line and much of their upcoming books fall into the realm of public domain.

It’s going to be “Marvelman” all over again, isn’t it?

WORN GENES

[Green Light]

IDW sent out a press release about their Len Wein/Marv Wolfman superhero movie/comic, Gene Pool. any relation to Marvel’s Gene Pool in the nineties? Okay it was shit, but a name’s a name…

GOT WARREN?

[Green Light]

Warren Ellis’ Bad Signal mailing list died. He’s givemn it a kick start, but if you;re missing your regular slices of mad bastard Essex wisdom-on-a-whisky, e-mail badsignal-request@lists.flirble.org with the word ‘subscribe’ in the title.

Then check out his WAP site on your mobile phone at tagtag.com/ellis. And mine at tagtag.com/pitches. We’re WAP buddies.

PLUGS UNPLUGGED

[Green Light]

On Wednesday’s it’s the fiftieth Waiting For Tommy. My doesn’t time fly? And talking of flying, Dynamic Forces are flying me out to Chicago WizardWorld. I land Friday midday and I’m gone Sunday early evening, so you won’t have long to catch me. I’ll be at the Dynamic Forces booth quite a bit I’m sure, as well. You can also call me on 011447801350982 – ain’t triband mobile phones a blast?

And if you have trouble finding me, this is what my pretty face looks like.

Should have no trouble, right? Right?

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@twistandshout.freeserve.co.uk (which often gets full, but it’ll reach me during the day)
  • 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.

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