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This is the fiftieth 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 dash of lemon – 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 dwarf-tossing Jim Lee.

It’s just a number, you know.

DOWN WITH ALICE

[Green Light]

As a result of last week’s report on “Alice In Sunderland,” Bryan Talbot is in “talks” with potential publishers for the comic. Hoorah. One guaranteed copy bought here, whenever and wherever it comes out.

THE DARE KNIGHT RETURNS

[Yellow Light]

I hear talk that the plot of “Daredevil 2” will follow that of the Marvel-changing Kevin Smith/Joe Quesada/Jimmy Palmiotti arc that launched both Marvel Knights and Joe Quesada to editor-in-chief.

CONN JOB

[Yellow Light]

I hear that Sean Connery has taken over editing the “League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” To the extent that he comes in after hours, wipes any previous editing work, then saves the result in a hard drive which he carries around with him.

It’s going to suck, isn’t it?

BACK TO FRONT, BACK

[Green Light]

Dark Horse is taking the “3×3 Eyes” strip out of “Super Manga Blast” and releasing the story as a series of monthly graphic novels, in the Japanese right-to-left format. This may occur with a number of licensed properties, the TokyoPop line proving to be an alluring model…. and bookstore returns on the current format have been higher than expected.

SUE WHO?

[Yellow Light]

Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins chose to comment on last week’s story about Aspen employees, on both Top Cow and CBR message boards, as well as what appear to be further trollish allegations since.

Hawkins said “Top Cow has not yet filed a lawsuit against Michael Turner. He filed a lawsuit against Top Cow. We have been in discussions with them for months on this matter, nothing was ‘conveniently served’ for the release date.”

Flip-flopping last week’s allegations from Aspen employees on Top Cow message boards, that Top Cow was the litigator in question. Nevertheless, until this has been resolved, Diamond will not distribute any disputed titles. Could be a long one.

BACK ON THE STREET

[Green Light]

Joe Madureira is doing a variant cover for one of the “Street Fighter” comics for Udon, as well as the internal art for the Ryu vs. Sagat fight from the end of “Street Fighter” 1, as a back-up story in the first issue.

I also hear that one of the first issue covers is going to be a wrap-around featuring over 50 characters, essentially every character from every Street Fighter game, all at once.

Joe Mad left the comic industry to pursue his video game career. This appears to be a rare chance for fans to get their MAD! Fix. It’s also coming out the same month as the “Transformers/GI Joe” crossover and “JLA/Avengers.” Looks like a very interesting Top Ten that month.

Udon’s Erik Nugeko told me, on confronting him with this story, “We want to make this ‘Street Fighter’ project a big party and I am inviting all my friends to do some part in this. Each issue, there will be a main story from the UDON team, plus a back up story by a guest artist. It is going to be fun!”

He should be a politician.

THIS IS STAN

[Yellow Light]

Mark Millar has confirmed rumours that Eminem’s people have signed up his upcoming “Wanted” comic as a development project. Millar wrote on his Web site, “‘Wanted’ is a six part series coming out from a surprise company (not Marvel) at the end of the year. The artist is one of the biggest in the industry and no, I’ve never worked with him, but you all love him. It’s the most evil, nasty thing I’ve ever written and ish one is being drawn as we speak. Catch the previous on the second Thursday in July and the Eminem flick in 05.”

WRIGHT FOR EPIC?

[Yellow Light]

Michah Wright has been talking to Marvel about Epic.

He writes in his Delphi Forum, “Like I said, I was in NYC last week and stopped by Marvel for just this meeting.

“They are -SO- behind on all these books. They’ve already gotten something like 2000 pitched scripts… and that’s before they officially opened the doors to non-professionals. They’re buried and will likely never see the light of day. They have a grand total of three whole people reading these pitches, none of whom seems very familiar with the Marvel Universe or even who is and who isn’t a published writer in comics (i.e. Me. I’m not asking a lot, but when we’ve got an appointment, I expect an exec to have at least done some research – it’s not like I’m shy about myself online). In addition to the full issue script which I had sent them two weeks prior to my arrival (and which they hadn’t read even though they knew I was coming in — another Hollywood no-no), I was pitching concepts and books fast and furious and got a lot of glassy-eyed stares when I mentioned minor-league Marvel Heroes in desperate need of Ultimization. As a meeting, it was rather disheartening.

“I’d also like to point out that the book I was pitching them was an unabashed Westlake-esque comedy and the feeling I got was that irregardless of whatever it might say in ‘Marville’ #7, they are not looking for comedy, comedic interpretations of the Marvel Universe, or anything remotely funny.

“They also went On and On about the need to turn everything around for TV and Features, which, again depressed me because (a) what makes a good comic and what makes a good movie/tv show are not necessarily the same thing, and (b) they nimbly dodged all of my questions about ‘so what if I create a new character for you that you turn into a Spider-Man sized film deal, what kind of money do I see for that?’ I consider that to be highly shiver-inducing, especially after my exciting adventures in getting ripped off as an Animation writer.

“If you’re not already in the door by this point, I really think that those of you who are looking to pitch to EPIC are truly wasting their time… unless you happen to be a comics Web site writer and Marvel feels that they can exploit you for some free publicity. (ooh, did I say that out loud? Naughty me! Yet, I do find it highly curious that almost all of the books that are rumored thus far excepting for ‘White Light’ and Millar’s book are written by Comics ‘Journalists’ — one wonders if these ‘Journalists’ understand what a conflict of interest is.)

“Feh. I’m probably just tired.

“Come to think of it, worst case scenario is that you spend a few weeks molding a script for a book that will never get read… you still get a sample piece and the experience of having sat down and written something out of it. So go ahead. Maybe the fat kid with the smiley face on his shirt will pull your messily scrawled rant out of the in-box (‘Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach’ – GENIUS! — oh, and if you don’t get that reference, you’re probably exactly what they’re looking for).

“This gives me another conspiracy theory, though: one of the side-effects of this EPIC plan is that some 2000+ hopefuls will probably turn these scripts around and fill them with non-Marvel characters and flood DC, Dark Horse, Oni and Larry Young with unwanted books which will bog down their entire editorial staff to the point where no one can do their jobs. Hmmmm…”

RELEGATION

[Yellow Light]

DC Thompson have cancelled the digest-sized comic book, “Football Picture Monthly” after over 400 issues. This brings DC Thompson’s comics down to “Commando Picture Libraries” 8 times a month, “Dandy” and the “Beano.”

It’s a long way from their glory days.

SEX SELLS. JUST NOT AS WELL AS IT DID.

[Yellow Light]

As part of Fantagraphics attempts to battle with profitability, what was once seen as their cash cow, the pornographic comic line, Eros, is being cut back. A planned seven titles will be cut back to three or four.

Have you bought a stack of comics from Fantagraphics yet?

TRADING UP

[Green Light]

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking for any opportunity to stop buying a monthly comic and wait for the trades. Or not buy the trade and wait for the hardcover.

Thankfully, those good folks at Amazon are letting you know which books are getting trades and hardcovers from Marvel in the next few months. So you can help increase the odds of their cancellation by only buying the collections, the hardcovers even, like me.

NOVEMBER

Trades of “X-treme X-men” trade “God Love Man Kills II”

“Ultimate Spiderman” trade

A second “New X-Men” hardcover

“Captain America: Ice” trade

A second “Captain Marvel” trade

DECEMBER

“Venom” trade

A third “Ultimate Spider-Man” HC

“Paradise X” Vol. II trade

“New X-Men: Assault on Weapon X” trade

“Daredevil” Hardcover trade

A second “Fantastic Four” trade – “Unthinkable”

“Avengers – Red Zone” trade

“Wolverine – Snikt” trade

“Incredible Hulk” – trade

JANUARY

A third “Daredevil” Hardcover

A third “Ultimate X-Men” Hardcover

“Human Torch” trade

“Mystique” trade

“Runaways” trade

“Sentinel: Salvage” trade

“Quest” trade

“Spiderman – Maximum Carnage” trade

A second “Hulk” hardcover

“Wolverine Ronin” trade

“Punisher – Streets Of Laredo” trade

“Amazing Spider-Man” trade

“Thanos – The End” trade

“New Mutants” trade

“Elektra” trade

“Eternals” trade

FEBRUARY

“Inhumans” trade

“Crew” trade

“Wolverine” trade

“Truth” Hardcover

“Born” Hardcover

“Ultimate X-Men” trade

“Spider-Man – Encyclopaedia”

“X-Treme X-Men” trade

MARCH

Another “Fantastic Four” trade – “Authoratative Action”

“Spectacular Spider-Man” trade

APRIL

“Namor” trade

That’s all for now! And to think, I was going to break and get the “Hulk” trades. But still no “X-Force” hardover? Maybe I’ll have to get the trades instead now…

WHY ARE WE WAITING?

[Green Light]

The latest Waiting For Tommy is a round-table industry discussion, featuring the likes of Joe Quesada, Mark Millar, Nick Barrucci, Jim McLauchlin, Brian Bendis, John Ross… and me. It’s a long one.

But it’s also inspired this week’s Waiting For Tommy, a series of images suitable for a new Got Milk style advertising campaign. Do be ready to check them out.

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.

Discuss this column on the Lying In The Gutters Forum.
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