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This is the fifty-first 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 lime and rosemary marinade – 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 Mike Doran.

YOU GO GOTH!

[Green Light]

Alan Moore’s “Yuggoth Cultures And Other Growths” is a new series from Avatar. It will reprint a lot of unreprinted and out-of-print Alan Moore material, as well as a number of never-published projects.

Top of the list is “Nightjar.” Intended to be a series for Warrior, alongside “Marvelman,” “V for Vendetta” and “BoJeffries Saga,” this was a horror story well before Moore would work on “Swamp Thing.” “Nightjar” was to have been drawn by Bryan Talbot, but remained unfinished.

That’s no longer the case. Bryan Talbot has finished illustrating the story. It will also be accompanied by the original script.

Also in issue 1, is “Zaman’s Hill”, originally written for Moore’s aborted novel “Yuggoth Cultures,” illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp!

Each issue is 40 pages, and there will be three issues in total. Expect more surprises.

GREG EXPECTATIONS

[Green Light]

The latest comics professional… okay, we’ll come to that definition later… to totally lose it is Greg Capullo.

Capullo has been drawing “Spawn” for many years now, as well as other projects such as “The Creech” and “Angela.”

Every now and then he writes a lead article on his Web site. And when Ben Temple-Smith, the artist on “Hellspawn” and co-creator of hit graphic novel “30 Days Of Night,” dropped off “Hellspawn” for his new found friends at IDW, Greg decided to speak up.

He writes:

“Scumbag. You call yourself(s) Pro?! Don’t think so.

“It seems the title of ‘Professional’ has completely lost its meaning these days, and it pisses me off to no end. There seems to be an ever growing crop of losers, who possess not the faintest clue as to what it takes to be a Pro, but have the balls to claim the mantle. I spit on these feeble bastards. You’re not Pros. You haven’t earned the right to wear that title and stand alongside me and the other legitimate professionals who toiled for it. You haven’t even earned the right to sniff a rancid fart from our collective ass. You can possess a shitload of talent, but that don’t make you a Pro. You can be commissioned by a large company, and work on a high profile gig, but that don’t make you a Pro. You can even get your mug plastered every month on a faux “top ten” list (if you don’t mind dirty knees), attend every convention in every state, sign your name on the books of a millions fans, but it don’t make you a Pro.

“Being a pro·fes·sion·al (pr?-fe?sh’?-n?l) is more than 4. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job. It’s also 1. b. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
“I’ve already spouted off in the past about actually delivering work on a consistent basis, staying on a title for a minimum a twelve CONSECUTIVE issues, meeting your deadlines, and being someone the fans and your employer can depend on. These all fall under the category of professional behavior.
“Something else that belongs in this category is how to leave your employer. How NOT to do it was demonstrated with stellar perfectlion by Ben Templesmith. Personally, I couldn’t give two shits where, who, or what B.L.T. (the L stands for loser) works on. You gotta a problem with Todd, Ben? Fine. Get in line. You wanna burn bridges? That’s fine too. But remember, even a McDonald’s employee will give his employer a two week notice prior to quitting. When I worked at Marvel I gave them plenty of advance notice I was leaving for Image so they could find a replacement. I didn’t leave them scrambling. I also told Todd I couldn’t work for him until I completed at least twelve issues of X-Force first. That’s the type of behavior that goes with being a Pro. Even if I was leaving ’cause I was pissed off about something I would’ve done it all the same way.
“You see, it’s about ethics. It’s about reputation. It’s about character. It’s about professionalism.

“So, fans, is B.L.T. someone you can depend on? If you were in the position to hire him would you?

“Or are you looking for a professional?”
Whether the above fits into the definition of “professional behaviour,” Greg does not clarify.
But in his message board, Greg replied to concerns from other posters, saying, “I don’t feel these words are as harsh as they are true, Choco’, but you’re right. I do feel passionately about this. Not only for the reasons I mentioned, but also because Toddy is a friend of mine. If you fuck with my friends it draws my anger. As far as being upset about being asked to fill in? First off, I wasn’t asked. Second off, I wouldn’t be pissed. Part of friendship is having each others back. Thirdly, I’ve made the offer to fill in–though I’m unsure whether Todd got the message or not. I may be talking to him today. If I do I’ll make the offer directly. I don’t even care if my name is credited. I’ll break it down, Fotos can do it up, and Todd can have the time he needs to find a professional team to replace the people he had.”

Greg continued, “What, Gren’? My views, thoughts and opinions? This is a comic forum. I spouted off about some of this industries ills. It was a broad message to many current and would-be comic guys. My hope is that the currents and would-bes will read it and hold themselves to a higher standard of business practice. I didn’t ‘air’ anything publicly that could’nt be gleaned by Templesmith’s sudden absence from H.S. Again, I adressed Templesmith directly in the last section, but the message was broad. So, if my hope is that by being vocal about these behaviors the guilty will develope a stronger work ethic, shouldn’t I air it publicly?”
And, “Griff’, Your reading comprehension is laughable.

“Gren’, Let me tell you a story. Early in Arnold Schwartzenegger bodybuilding career he had horribly skinny calves. Arnold’s solution to cure the problem was to cut off the legs of his sweats to expose his puny calves to everybody in the gym. Why? To embarrass himself into working hard to bring them up to par. I merely cut someone’s sweats off above the knee.

“Another thing. ‘From Greg’ is ‘from the mind of Greg Capullo.’ If you want PC go somewhere else. I tell it like is in MY view. You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to even read it. But, as an American I’m FREE to say it, just as you’re free to respond the way you have.

“Look, I’m going by what I was told happened. If I’ve got it wrong I’ll issue a formal apology to Templesmith. But, everything I said still applies to any and everyone who desires to be called a professional in this or any other business.”

And indeed, the man starts to mellow. A tad.

“First, I want to thank the literate folks with good comprehension skills explaining things to those less fortunate. I lack the patience for such tutoring. Now then, I spoke to two people yesterday. Steve Niles and Todd. From those conversations I learned there exist a few more facets to this story. So, this is what I’d like to say. Ben, I can see that you were in a situation that would motivate someone to leave. After all, how can you work if no one is giving you a script? I probably would’ve left, too. BUT, I still stand my ground when it comes to the right and wrong way to make an exit. One thing you could’ve done was to issue a deadline. ‘If I don’t have a script in my hands by such ‘n’ such a date I’m out of here.’ At least then you’d have fired a warning shot over the bow. Fair warning. That’s all I’m saying.

“Some of you just don’t get it. Maybe I speak more truth than you want to hear. Darren even called me a stupid, twisted, bitter ass! Twisted? All the way, Mother Fucker, but it has nothing to do with any of this. You better get going, son. The little yellow bus is waiting outside to take you to school.

“Not all of you are idiots, though. Some of you who object to my choice to say what’s on my mind raise good points. Ned’s are valid, and XXX’ are outstanding.

“Ned and those who share his views should understand that I ALWAYS go off half cocked. I like confrontations. I like to fight. I like it when you get upset with something I’ve said and start calling me names. It reminds me of home. It reminds me of mom.

“Anyone with onion skin who feels he or she won’t be able to develop a callous is probably better off steering clear of these boards. We both know it’s only a matter of time before I say something that rubs you the wrong way and tears your skin. I ain’t saying everything that comes out of my mouth is right, but at least you know what I really think. If I were a black guy at a house party and someone with the KKK was there, I’d rather he be dressed up in his bed sheets than wearing normal clothes and blending in with the crowd.”

Replying to more concerned posters (which you can probably get from the context), Greg writes, “First, XXX’, the behavior of a company and the behavior of an individual working for that company are two completely separate things. My track record for conduct and performance is without blemish. If I worked for a company charged with accounting fraud and insider trading I wouldn’t be hauled off to jail with the guilty.

“Todd lacks the desire to fix things? Tell that to the people who’ve recently been let go from the company. On the subject of book solicitations, I agree that since the person originally responsible for keeping things on track left this has been a problem. Let’s me point out, however, that even though the solicitations were off my (Spawn) was on the racks every month. As a kid collecting comics I cared only about two things: a. My favorite comic was in the store every month, and b. My favorite art team graced its pages. I wasn’t even aware of what a solicitation was, and nor would I have cared. That’s mostly a retailers issue… UNLESS no book at all shows up. I concede that’s indefensible… mostly. The fact of the matter is, when your the owner of a company you can’t be focusing your attention on everything that’s happening. That’s why you hired employees to handle that task. If any of those people are fuck ups and things start breaking down it’s gonna take a while for you to find out about it. Meanwhile you’re still trying to focus on the road in front of you while you’re driving. Kinda tough to control your misbehaving children in the back seat and avoid an accident at the same time.

“I assume from your final comment that you’re referring to Bendis. To this I say BULLSHIT. If he was fired for working for Marvel, how come I wasn’t? I was actually faxing Todd the Spidey/Leno stuff as I worked on it. Last I checked I’m still receiving monthly checks from TMP.

“Finally, I hope my message isn’t drowned in this angry sea of emotion. EVERY thing I said holds true about what being a ‘Pro’ is all about. Arnold, as fantastic as the entire rest of his physique was, would never have become Mr.Olympia if he had puny calves.”

On that bizarre allegory, we turn to Ben Templesmith, who on his message board got the word about Greg. Ben wrote, “I’m not into personality contests, or stuff about who’s art is better, as opinions still only ever are opinions…but the sentiments ARE appreciated, know that. Just don’t fell like you have to defend me or anything, honestly. This whole thing strikes me as very, very strange really.

“Official statement/response if anyone cares to read it:

“Attacks such as this on people you do not know, or know the circumstances of, ( And trust me, you don’t, ) is also grossly unprofessional. I wish you well.”

Later, on hearing Greg’s follow-ups, ex-Todd employee and current collaborator on “30 Days Of Night” related projects, Steve Niles spoke up, “Lovely. Seems he has no problem only hearing one side (not that there are even really sides in this, this is all out of the blue so far as I’m concerned,) and then saying what he thinks. Ah well, such is life.

“I don’t have a problem with Mr McFarlane. Never have. Just so everyone knows. I just find this all rather fascinating now. Carry on!

“I don’t remember Ben saying anything bad in public, or otherwise, about Todd. As far as I know he handled the HS thing very well.

“Greg’s a cool guy, so something set him off. He should know Ben’s a good guy and wouldn’t do anything to screw anybody.

“Oh well, don’t let it bug you BLT”

Greg Capullo and John Byrne… separated at birth?

AIM FIRE

[Green Light]

Gutterati Sway notes that Micah Wright has been posting about his Epic submission, “Joe Aim.” After a highly entertaining plot-history of Advanced Idea Mechanics, Wright laid out his pitch, including visuals by Rick Remender.

But here’s my favourite bit:

“Yeah, I can totally see why they couldn’t be bothered to read this. How Weak this would be! I mean, I only had Garth Ennis in stitches at a bar in NYC telling him pieces of the story (like my favorite section where Joe tries to get his wife to breastfeed the new Modok baby which has decided that Joe is its Father and won’t let anyone else near it without blasting them dead with Mental Rays).”

PLASTIC CREDIT

[Green Light]

DC’s new “Plastic Man” series by Kyle Baker will not, as Baker originally wished, be crediting Jack Cole as creator of the character. Because, sadly, they’re under no legal obligation to doing so.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

[Red Light]

I hear the odd rumour, but far too gorgeous not to mention, that ex-Daredevil writer Ann Noncenti, has been in talks with Joe Quesada over writing… “Ultimate Daredevil.”

CROSSED CHEQUES

[Yellow Light]

CrossGen have recently been delaying paying a number of their freelance workers. While some cheques are coming through slowly, there are a number who remain unpaid and partly paid – and have been for months now.

I understand this is down to cashflow problems, some of which are being resolved, hence a few recent freelance payouts. But a number are still waiting.

There is another rumour that the recent payments made to some creators are down to a new deal with Wizards Of The Coast. Gutterati Jimmy_Helter noted an ad for DragonLance on the back cover of “Negation” 19, a unique sight for CrossGen to take paid advertising.

A sign of things to come?

ACCLAIM BACK IN THE GAME

[Green Light]

Acclaim have had a spotty history with comics. Buying Valiant, becoming a Diamond premier Publisher before running it into the ground was probably their highlight.

They are currently producing console games based on “100 Bullets” and “Red Star.”

Hopefully they’ll be better than Turok and Shadowman…

BOOM BOOM

[Green Light]

You’re a mutant. You’re gay. Where do you go?

Could it be Manhunt, responsible for this little promo item?

In the old days, Marvel would have sued. Now they’re just glad to be noticed.

VINEGAR STROKES

[Green Light]

The Spawn art to the Image Ten-ty-Twelfth Anniversary hardcover continues apace. Todd may even have done all of it by now. Colourist Jay Fotos writes, “No, I’m just coloring the Spawn arc. Todd and I sat down and discussed what he wanted to do, he wanted to do Spawn as nobody has ever seen him before…..animae style.

“As of right now I have 15 of the 20 pages, I plan on picking up the rest from him on Friday and by next week the art will be done, Yippidy-do!”

ASPEN SLOPES

[Yellow Light]

You think copies of the seized-by-Diamond-until-legal-problems-are-sorted-out, “Aspen Comics” 1 are hard to come by in the US? Think about the UK! People who really want to see what all the legal fuss is about can contact my Lying In The Gutters Live sponsors, comix-shop.co.uk for copies of the first issue from Wizard World East.

Wizard have quite a dilemma over the whole affair. Michael Turner is a Wizard untouchable, they’ve thrown their lot in with him, and with the legal case looking more and more desperate against Top Cow in the light of revealed contracts, will Wizard stay on board or jump ship? And if they stay, just how strained will their relationship be with Top Cow?

GET GRELL

[Green Light]

Occasionally, very occasionally, Lying In The Gutters gets glimpses of comic book pro’s non-curricular life. What they do when they’re not at the board, keyboard or swimming pool on the phone to Hollywood.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Grell. In armour, on a horse. Jousting.

[Mike Grell]

For the full horror, click here

THE REAL PUNISHER

[Green Light]

A USA Today article on stuntmen gave away a tiny detail about the upcoming Punisher movie.

“That same focus on keeping it real is why Thomas Jane is training now with four Navy SEALs for next year’s ‘The Punisher.’ Every day he goes to Huntington Beach to learn basic weapons training.

“”The stuff on the wires and all that crazy dancing that was done so well in ‘Crouching Tiger’ is beautiful, but it’s not very real world. We’re kind of going back to old-fashioned days – serious hand-to-hand combat without all the trickery and dancing.”

It’s scarier, he says. “Stylized violence is a way of stepping away from violence and making it palatable. With our movie, we inject a sense of here’s what happens when it really goes down.”

ANYTHING EROS CAN DO, AVATAR CAN DO BETTER

[Green Light]

Avatar Press will be setting up an imprint of comics based on the Vivid Video adult film stars. Steven Grant and Antony Johnston have been mentioned as writers. The full colour original graphic novels will be sold as coming from Vivid Comix, not Avatar.

The books will feature all the Vivid Girl stars from their movies and will be distributed to adult video stores world wide, as well as the comics direct market.

Antony Johnston is truly the most diverse writer in comics… Alan Moore adaptations, romantic thriller comedies, children’s books and horror. I suppose porn is just another string to the bow.

TRUE SWAMP THING

[Green Light]

Jon Lewis, current writer for DC’s “Robin” will be writing a non-superhero series for DC that will be illustrated by Jeff Parker.

It’s not “Swamp Thing,” though. Sorry, just an excuse to do that headline.

ADVERTISING COMICS

[Green Light]

One of the most talked about Waiting For Tommy columns went online on Wednesday. Based on previous discussions between Nick Barrucci and others about a ‘Got Milk’ advertising campaign for comics, David Darkadian and I created a campaign to fit the brief – using comic-reading celebrities to promote the medium. The poster campaign starts here.

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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