This is the fifty-fifth 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 sour slice of apple tart 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 Alistair Campbell.
It’s a pre-San Diego Special this week, with teasers of stuff that’s going to appear or be announced at next weekend’s huge comic convention extravaganza. And no, I’m not going – although Dynamic Forces’ Nick Barrucci is flying me out to the Chicago WizardWorld in August. Hence the ludicrous number of plugs for his stuff in this week’s column. So let’s start as I mean to go on – Dan Jurgens talks about some of the announcements and plans he’s going to be making or have made about him at San Diego, in last Wednesday’s Waiting For Tommy.
Also, any goss you come across at San Diego, send a line or two back. May I recommend the late night bars for some truly downright dirty and saucy comic business talk…
And yes, that was me on Five’s Hulk TV Special, alongside the likes of Joe Quesada, Axel Alonso, Stan Lee, and John Thompson. Name misspelt again and I was a real fat fucker when that was recorded. For an actual idea of how I look now, watch the widescreen transmission, then squish it into 4:3…
On with the column, this week with a Felicia-Free guarantee…
And, yes it’s a rather fun comic. It does indeed feature an opening scene with Seahawk getting a blow job – but with a lovely little twist that sets up the theme of the whole book. Which bizarrely, means it’s not a gratuitous blowjob. I feel cheated. And in the week when Marvel announce they are withdrawing all likenesses and mentions of Lady Diana and the Royal Family from “X-Statix” (oops – sorry guys!), Youngblood will feature luminaries from the 1960’s civil rights movement such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X revived as jetpack-toting zombies.
It’s a funny script by Millar, intended as a satire on how the Image creators found fame and fortune, then frittered it away, how what made them special is no longer so, and how they find themselves competing against each other when they were once a team. Liefeld’s art has almost regressed from his more recent ultra-slick styles. There’s everything you remember, stupid shoulder pads, too many teeth, bizarre muscle structures, bizarre breasts and stupid technology. But there are a few backgrounds in there, people do actually have feet and wrists this time and the digitally-inked pencils give the book a rough and ready look his work hasn’t had since X-Force.
The book will be available first at Comic-Con International in San Diego, then distributed in bursts, Californian retailers getting the first wave, before spreading shop, by shop, across the country. Issues are meant to be available online, at both retailer and reader prices, but promises about this have constantly been made and constantly broken.
The radical new form of online distribution has been promised since 2000. However with less than a week to go till “Youngblood: Bloodsport” officially launches, there’s still no news.
On July 2nd Rob posted on Newsarama that the site would be live in a few days. Currently it’s still dead featuring an 0ctober 2002 release date and Frank Quitely’s name misspelled as it has been for ten months. Constant promises by Rob and Arcade boss Jimmy Jay to update the site have fallen through. However, keep clicking www.arcade-comics.com, it could go live any day now.
Or maybe they will, as some suspect, just go straight to eBay.
I’ve even promised to help distribute a batch to London shops, but we’ll see how that works out.
COURT IN CHAOS
One questioned why there was no explanation to creditors why Brian Pulido’s sale to CrossGen was a good idea for them. Also, selling the rest of the characters as a job lot doesn’t appeal to everyone – there was one buyer who would have happily paid thousands for the rights to ‘Purgatori;’ but no one else.
There are also issues concerning what film and printer files, hard copies of reproducible artwork come with the rights to the characters. One individual pointed out that there was a lot of work created for Chaos without contracts, so that only first North American reproduction rights were paid for – reprinting existing artwork would not be covered by the sale.
Also, since Chaos rarely bought outright original artwork, anything remaining in the office (that didn’t mysteriously disappear and end up on eBay) belongs to the original artists.
There is also the possibility that ex-Chaos partner Steven Hughes’ wife would get a percentage of ownership. That has not been cleared up.
A HERALD FOR MOORE
‘The basic thing to remember,’ growls Alan Moore ‘is that, eventually, I am always right.’
‘I don’t do smiles. If I’m not actually glaring, that’s pretty good’
‘The film has got nothing to do with my work, it has a coincidental title to a book I’ve done and they’ve given me a huge wedge of money. No problem with that.’
‘What can you do with Dorian Gray, other than say ‘Oh, hello Dorian, you’re looking good’?’ he scoffs. ‘He’s just somebody that’s got Botox a century before everyone else. That’s about as much use as he is.’
‘my vacuum cleaner broke about 10 years ago, and I haven’t got round to replacing it yet.’
More at the Sunday Herald interview with the man…
And check out what the New York Times had to say about the comic and the movie…
FORMERLY KNOWN AS A DAMN FINE COMIC
And you know, if that was the whole plot, I wouldn’t care. It’s a wonderful comic.
Now all I want is DC to put out the complete Giffen/DeMatteis JL/JLI/JLA/JLE/JLAntarctica in a series of Essential style volumes and I’ll be a happy bunny.
YOU KNOW, WE WERE ALWAYS TOLD TO SHARE WHEN WE WERE KIDS…
The internet file-sharing revolution has progressed to such a level that it is possible not only to download 90% of the back-catalogue of DC and Marvel, but also to download more or less DC and Marvel’s entire monthly output within days of the in-store dates.
And any Web sites that actually mention it only reveal a tiny part of the actual thing. There’s a filesharing app called DC++, which is basically a server/client app where people set up very focused servers that specialise in a particular kind of shared files. There are a handful for comics.
It doesn’t grow very quickly because there’s no advertising and very little word-of-mouth, but when it hits something a bit more widespread like BitTorrent, suffice to say, DC and Marvel will really have to take note.
Now, on one level, this could be a mixed blessing for Marvel and DC, because it’ll make more people aware that there are good comics out there that are worth reading, but the negatives are equally obvious.
The “scene” is dominated to a huge extent by Marvel and DC. Indies are largely unheard of unless they’re massive hits like, say, “Bone” or “Queen and Country.” DC and Marvel are more or less equal. It’s largely irrelevant whether it’s available in trade or not. Lot of manga out there, though.
Sadly, it costs $6.99. But at least you’ll be able to find a copy… “Youngblood: Bloodsport” may be harder.
INK AND INCAPABILITY
Marvel held a kind of Inker Idol competitive bid for the third issue job and, after getting samples in from a number of known inkers, Walden Wong got the job, and completed inks from “blue lines” provided by Fegredo. Blue lines are a computer reproduction of the pencils in “blue,” they do not need to be rubbed out, they don’t even need to have been done in pencil. They can also be done in separate pages, then combined on a computer onto one page which can then be inked.
The problem started when the art was returned.
Traditionally, when an inker works on pencilled boards, the pencil is erased and after the work is reproduced, the returned original art is split between the penciller and inker, 2/3 to the former, a 1/3 to the latter.
Original art can be quite a lucrative moneyspinner for artists when they sell it – art used in the production of a published comic can be quite valuable – in some cases far outstripping the money they were paid for the original job.
However, in the past, when inks have been created by lightboxing – a fresh board placed over the original board, then inked through, with a light source underneath – because the original pencils have not been destroyed, the penciller gets all his pencilled art back, the inker gets all his inked art back.
However it appears that Marvel’s policy is to split the inked blue line boards along the two-thirds/one-third lines. Which means that Fegredo gets to keep two thirds of the inked blue lines… and all his original pencils.
This also happened to inker Miki when working recently on “Captain America,” pencilled/blue lined by Trevor Hairsine.
Inkers aren’t happy about this new development…
HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT
One possible time for that signing is Thursday at 10am – but will they be up then?
Jones replied, “That’s not accurate. I think Chuck is confusing Greg’s distinct lack of regard for Chuck with that of his readership. Rucka doesn’t pander and I doubt he ever will, but he cares. He cares about telling good stories. He wants people to enjoy the work, but he wants them to enjoy the work for being good not because it’s what they would have done.”
DUNGEONS AND DRAG
In hindsight, they probably just should have let David Bogart play…
AUTHORITY ON THE TITLE
Tony Lee wrote, “Spoke to Morrison in the pub a month or so back and he was a tad disillusioned with the art style too – said that it removed something from the story, that certain things weren’t being understood and therefore not put through into finished product. He also said that it was a slow burn by necessity, and that it would build better and better as it went on. Whether this means the artist begins to understand I don’t know, but I’m willing to give Robbie 6 or 7 issues because he’s a top bloke.”
When people started asking about Frazer Irving no longer being associated with the title, he popped up to comment.
“(sings) eevr’y bodies talkin’ bout me…i can’t hear a wurd they’re sayin’…(sings)
“U want the skinny on my flirtation with the authority? here goes. Assuming that none of this was ever deemed top secret by the guys in charge.
“i got the offer to do the regular series first, which kinda shocked me, but was then reduced to a one-off probably to test me and robbie before committing to the full shebang.
“now, when i started the strip i had just moved to croatia on a lovers whim and got dumped by the lady i was sposed to be living with, so i was in a sad state of flux which led to me producing some work which may not have been the uber-quality the boss was after…having said that, i did my job as well as any could have done, hit the deadlines, did the corrections that were asked for and was generally nice to all involved.
“THEN. i get a call from the ed askin me if i wanted to do a monthly book immediately…which due to the stress and hassle of my situation, i declined stating i needed a month or 2 off. turns out it was the stormwatch gig i was being considered for, but they cou;dn’t wait as pages needed filling.
“then i hear from robbie that he got the regular authority gig and that i hadn’t…now i dunno if this was down to me refusing the stormwatch gig or if it was down to them not digging my stuff….
“anyway, it seems that wildstorm moved on and by the time i was ready to draw again they were already out of sight. sad, for me at least, but them’s the breaks. It woulda been nice to try another style on the authority…i don’t think my first attempt worked in the way it shoulda done, but hey, spilt milk and all that.
“my opinion on the current art team is confidential of course.”
Simon Frasier added, “From my limited experience of working for Uncle Sam, this seems to be the way it goes. You get offered some godawful fill-in story or an ongoing book that is already late and if you don’t bite….they never call you again. That has happened to me twice now. I’m not too bothered as I had other, better options available. Also my style is apparently ‘Too French’ now, so that’s me screwed for US work for a while then 🙂
“I had Robbie venting his frustration about his Authority artist, as far as I can see he`s just lazy and changes panels because he can’t be bothered drawing what’s asked for. This is not a good way to endear yourself to the writer I find.”
THE HARRY POTTER EFFECT
Young adult fantasy… wasn’t that what got that online CrossGen fanfic in all that bother a few weeks back?
YOU’LL BELIEVE A MAN CAN SELL
BILL IN THE ARENA
about how he thinks that comics are the best testing ground for movie properties,
“If we have what we feel is a clever or great creative idea, $14 000 dollars later we have a comic book and we can see in person whether it’s good or not. If you’re making TV, then a million five for your pilot later, you can see. For movies, multiply that by ten. All that said, comic books are a lucrative business right now,” says Jemas. “Blade was originally a secondary character in the cranky ‘Tomb Of Dracula,’ who didn’t even appear in every issue. Decades later, he’s been played by Wesley Snipes and get’s a sequel.”
Bill Jemas’ planned move to Hollywood at some point is almost gospel in comic creator grapevines, though he’ll have to circumvent the natural path to Marvel’s west coast operations due to his less than stellar relationship with Avi Arad.
Bill also stresses his jock tactics as well as his shock tactics. “Print that I’m a sport’s jock. … Sport’s Jock that I am, I can benchpress all of 185lb. Try to pick up a 185lb queen-size bed and you can’t do it. Marvel’s like that, so big and sprawling. Most of my time is dedicated to that rather than the creative.”
Marvel creators wish…
I understand that she was told, however, that Levitz would never allow her to become part of DC no matter how much the company would benefit from it.
There are also allegations that DC has interviewed ex-Marvel employees knowing that they weren’t going to hire them, but just pumped them for information. Joey Zerbo, who was hired as head of Marketing then fired three months later found himself being interrogated by DC when he went for a chat afterwards.
NO NO DITKO
“Whoever summarised the solicitation information at Diamond managed to accidentally mangle it, so that it listed Ditko as the cover artist, removing all mention of Ian Forster. Vince Danks, my colleague and the publisher of Raven, phoned Previews to let them know their mistake as soon as we saw it.
“At no time was this ‘someone doing a very good imitation and passing it off as a gag’ – we’re not into making false claims to flog a few extra copies, and this sort of stunt would just make potential readers feel ripped off. We’re always happy to get publicity, but lying isn’t one of our methods! It’s hardly the first time there have been errors in our Previews listing – in the listing for issue #1 I was referred to as ‘Roger Gibbon’ rather than ‘Gibson’, which, whilst amusing for those not called Gibbon, isn’t the information that we gave to Previews – but we accept that typos sometimes slip through. ”
Mad cos-play and masquerade buffoons who dress up as “Street Fighter” characters will get free copies.
Come on Udon, don’t encourage them!
Rumours also say that Udon might be doing more that just “Street Fighter” comics. They are preparing a big merchandising campaign to go with the official 15th Anniversary of “Street Fighter” in US next year.
When asked, Udon’s top fellow Erik Ko just said “All will be revealed at the UDON Panel in SD. Friday, 1.30pm.”
Don’t let him escape that booth without solid answers, my Gutterati…
The increased workload for staff creators is being accepted because a) CrossGen give new staff members an advance against salary of $5000 to cover moving costs – which has to be paid back if the individual leaves within the year. So quitting is not an option for many.
Added to Jemas-like micromanagement, morale is down among some but the confidentiality agreement prevents people from speaking out – especially considering Alessi’s history for litigation. I’m told “Alessi is a nut-case basically and the company takes on the personality of the owner behind closed doors”.
Bill Rosemann, showing why Marvel’s loss is CrossGen’s gain responded;
“Thanks for bringing this to my attention as it actually gives me a chance to clear the air on some false info that may be circulating through the creative community.
“CrossGen is currently participating in an investment round for product expansion. During this time, some outside sources that owe us money haven’t delivered as they were contracted to, which has impacted our activities. The good news is that Bart Sears has contacted every single CrossGen freelancer — while Mark Alessi has personally talked with 20 creators — to tell them that we expect all freelancers to be paid in full within 45 days. Mark welcomes any CrossGen freelancer to call him if they have any additional questions.
“Also, CrossGen has never ‘fired freelancers’ because we owed them payment. But we have removed two freelancers from projects because they failed to deliver their work when they agreed to. When we tell readers and retailers that a comic book will go on sale on a certain date, we do all we can to meet this promise, even if that means replacing freelance artists who can’t meet their deadlines.
“As for the rest of the rumors, anyone can feel free to talk to our creators at the San Diego Comic-Con…they’re all pros who will tell it like it is.
“Finally, Mark did agree with one rumor, telling me that, ‘Yes, I am a nutcase…why should I be any different from anyone else in this crazy business?’
“Again, Rich, thanks for this opportunity. Rumors are a normal part of the game, and I can understand why people are curious as to what’s going on down in our cool little studio. Heck, not too long ago I was on the other side of the fence wondering the same thing. But as I’ve learned since coming down here — and as has happened before I got here — reports of CrossGen’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. See you all in San Diego!”
FIND YOUR AVATAR
Avatar will also be announcing news of an adaptation of the classic Joe R. Lansdale novel, “The Drive-In” – a four issue series adapted by Chris Golden, art by newcomer Andres Guinaldo, and covers by Jacen Burrows..
Chris Golden calls “The Drive-In” “one of the most visual, visceral, perverse, amusing and surreal pieces of fiction ever written. If ever a novel lent itself to graphic treatment, this is it. The images detailed by Lansdale are wildly horrific, the characters’ personalities and the initial settings are disturbingly familiar, and the events are a combination of every bizarre fantasy, every nightmare and, most importantly, every B-movie we’ve ever known.”
THIS MUST BE MONDAY. I NEVER COULD GET THE HANG OF MONDAYS.
The Italian version has been rescheduled for September, and the art auction is happening this month. There are also talks underway for a Spanish edition. The Alan Moore “biographic” piece from the beginning of the weighty tome is also being reprinted in a new Croatian language magazine, from Darko Macan.
The first Italian edition of “Strangehaven” is now out from Black Velvet, reprinting two Abiogenesis issues per issue in a prestige format. This year’s Bart Simpson’s “Treehouse of Horror” contains a 13-page strip written and drawn by Strangehaven creator Gary Spender Millidge – which should be a very peculiar sight indeed.
And watch for the Marvel panel he’s on with Grant Morrison, Brian Bendis and Joe Quesada. Looks like Neil Gaiman will make a brief appearance as well. Youl may also hear an announcement about JMS’ new TV series he’s developing for Marvel productions, there.
GI JOEY DA Q
GREG TO ED
And what a speedy story that was!
Watch for a limited edition sketch cover of “Elephantmen,” by Starkings and honorary Englishman Ladronn, raised on “Doctor Who” and “The Avengers,” with a cover by Brian Bolland and art by Dave Gibbons and Ian Churchill. And the TPBs of “Strange Embrace” and “Spiral Cage,” which you all should really own…
THE TRUTH… MAYBE
BUY THIS MAN MORE ALCOHOL
Not to mention asking him what Bill Jemas is really like…
FAMILY VALUE: $20 AND OVER
You can also buy donatable copies from the Dynamic Forces Web site. No, no link here, go to the top and click through the Dan Jurgens Waiting For Tommy. That way I get an extra hit!
He sent an e-mail to several up-and-coming artists, attempting to get them registered onto Devil’s Due’s books.
Brooks writes, “As many of you know Devil’s Due Publishing has been producing ‘G.I.Joe,’ ‘Micronauts’ and ‘Voltron’ among other titles, through Image Comics and is one of the leading small companies in the industry. Recently, they have decided to branch out and create a new division called Devil’s Due Productions, which will focus on concept and design work for movies, television, animation, toys, and video games. Already, past and current clients include 20th Century Fox, Hasbro Toys, and Sony Online Entertainment just to name a few. Devil’s Due Productions already has a small staff of in house artists but our goal is to create a diverse group of artists able to meet a customer’s needs no matter what the project size is or what style they’re looking for. This is where you come in.
“We are basically creating an artist database from which we can pull various artists based on the client needs and size of the project. At times, an assignment could require multiple artists or others, just a single person. Becoming part of this database would automatically include you in consideration for any projects that arise in the future from any of our clients. Please understand that being included in the database does not force you, in any way, to be exclusive to Devil’s Due Productions or guarantee any work now or in the future. You would also have the right to turn down any work offered to you for whatever reason so there is no obligation and Devil’s Due asks nothing more of you than the opportunity to offer you work is the work arises and your skills meet the client’s needs. The basic outline would work like this:
“1) Client contacts Devil’s Due Productions for project
“2) Devil’s Due works out details of project as well as finding out the general look and feel of what the project requires.
“3) A group or artists (number depending on size of project) is chosen based on the specifics of the client’s needs and the artists are contacted to let them know they are being considered for a project and the size/time required of them as well as an estimation of pay.
“4) Once all the artists respond accepting or declining the project offer a complete file of sample art is sent to the client so they can choose which style they would like for the assignment.
“5) Once the client decides on an artist or group of artists all participating artists are contacted and given specific information such as content, references, start dates, deadlines, and specific pay.
“6) Upon completion of the project all invoices are paid net 30 days from final date of all art.”
He continues, outlining the professionalism needed, and emphasising that the lucky participants may never get any work from Devil’s Due at all…
Still, it may offer untold riches…. something for potential Epic creators to take an interest in?
As well as working for Dreamwave and Devil’s Due, Mark Brooks is also pencilling “Deadpool/Cable” as part of the Udon studio… and being a member of the Led Heavy online studio as well.
This is a man who doesn’t so much keep his eggs in one basket, but put each egg in a different country’s basket. Just as they’re about to go to war with each other. He’s the new Adam Fortier…
SAN DIEGO OR BUST
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:email@example.com (which often gets full, but it’ll reach me during the day)
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- 0780 1350982 (01144780 1350982 from N America)
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Be seeing you.