Welcome to the nineteenth weekly instalment of Lying In The Gutters, a gossip and rumour column serving the comic book industry by having its cake and eating it. Now. Remember the rumour rules. Red light means it’s 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 sense of scathing abuse – 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. That’s what my mum always said anyway.
LICENSE TO MAKE A KILLING
Viz Communications, one of the larger licensers and publishers of Japanese manga in the USA, also traditionally exports the material to Europe and Australasia.
Brazil has already suffered the loss of “DragonBall,” “Akira,” and “Lone Wolf And Cub” when comics distribution company Devir Livraria had licensing restrictions placed upon it, and now has “Transformers” and Viz Communication titles withdrawn.
While the absence of Dreamwave (and other associated Hasbro titles from Image) from non-Us Diamond accounts has now been confirmed, Viz has only just started to be mentioned – and non-US Diamond customers can also expect to lose a number of Viz titles as well.
Viz manga titles sell very well across Europe, some estimates being from 10 to 20% of total sales. South America makes up another sizeable chunk.
The implications of these restrictions is expected to have a number of knock on effects. First, the increase in online ordering, for both shops and customers – while Diamond and Devra may be unable to go against the licensing agreements, individual businesses and people are more likely to create a “grey” market, the same that fuels region specific DVDs being sold outside their respective regions. If businesses don’t, then individuals will just bypass them.
Also, expect price increases across the board.
And with a precedent set, here comes the even scarier part. Will the likes of Panini, who own Marvel licenses in certain countries, decide that the import of US comics is hurting their own sales and demand a blockade of them as well?
FURMAN FIRMS UP PLANS
Unless of course this is the same material he’s doing for Dreamwave’s Armada series? Can one man do two separate continuities in two countries simultaneously?
I also hear that artist Lee Sullivan maybe working on the UK “Transformers” title.
WHAT’S SPANISH FOR SIGIL? ANYONE?
FIFTEEN MINUTES OF INFAMY
LAST MORRISON OF KRYPTON
This is alleged to be a Dan DiDio, recently parachuted in DC Vice President, sponsored mission, to get the best selling writer of “New X-Men” onto what could be DC’s premier title. Morrison has often said that he could see Superman selling a million again, and certainly has plenty of ideas for the book.
Or is this wishful thinking on a number of sources’ parts? Grant Morrison didn’t reply to emails and DC weren’t exactly denying it. But would they want to, even if it wasn’t true?
THE DIDIO FACTOR
THE LADY’S NOT FOR TURNING
Previous interviews and articles indicate that Brian Pulido says he didn’t believe the company would go bankrupt until pretty much the time it did, and that CrossGen bought certain rights to Lady Death as a temporary measure, at a price worked out by an outside agency, intending to sell them back to Brian when the company was out of danger. With Dave Campiti pointing out that, given the opportunity, he’d have paid substantially more for the same rights, this has raised doubts about certain versions of the story, the timeframe and the legalities in this operation.
A CrossGen source assures me, however, that this is a misreading – that Alessi is referring to a period after the Lady Death rights purchase, and the decision to publish the character in a CrossGen title.
It does appear, however, that a number of individuals made the same misreading.
You can read the CBG article in question here.
THERE AND BACK AGAIN
Nope. Apparently, it was Chuck Dixon’s decades-old adaptation of The Hobbit. Makes you think.
With WizardWorld making similar moves recently, expect this to be the first of a number of shoes about to drop.
He’s currently finishing issue 48 of “Amazing Spider-Man” and says he has turned the last two issues round in two weeks. That on-time schedule may just be achievable.
JrJr does also say “All seriousness aside, I can turn a plot around in two weeks. If all distractions are held at bay, that is. If I were doing two titles a month, LIKE I’D LIKE TO BE DOING, it would just about fit me right. Starting January I’ll be working on a creator owned project as well as AMS…so maybe that’ll fill my need.”
So why was he pulled off “Hulk?” John tells me via email “If there was not an effort to produce 18 or more ASM per year, I would still be on ‘Hulk.’ However I would be getting off ‘Hulk,’ anyway, to work on my creator owned projects. I say projects as in ‘plural.'” He a right tease, isn’t he?
To his future on Amazing Spider-Man (with Kevin Smith coming on to the title… some time).
“I DO know that nothing is set! So, don’t write anyone’s name in cement as the creative team on any title. As far as ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ is concerned, that is!”
“There are no done deals. Neither JMS nor I have pined away for the chance at a number 1. Both of us have said that we’d go with the choice of the ‘bosses’ regardless of what that is. We both know we’re going to be continuing with our collaboration and I, for one, will be happy either way. If it’s under a new title, so be it. There has never been any ill feelings on anyone’s part, including Kevin Smith and Terry Dodson. If I had to make a choice…..I’ll only say, I’m a creature of habit……CRYPTIC ENOUGH??”
Pretty much, John, pretty much.
DARE TO WAIT
Volume 1 was going to reprint “The Brotherhood 1-6,” will now also reprint “The Wagon” 1-4. Volume 2, which was to have reprinted “The Precinct 1-5” and “The Wagon,” will now lose the latter. Volume 1’s price is still $14.99, while Volume 2 has dropped from $14.99 to $9.99. A saving of five bucks for all the “crying fireman” comics you’ll need!
STAN “THE MAN” WINSTON
When asked, Oni publisher Joe Nozemack told me “It’s all in the development stage and we’re currently looking at writers to attach to the project. After that we’ll take it out to studios. We’re very excited to be working with them.”
Thanks Joe but I long for the day when someone will give me a quote along the lines of “actually, I’m quite bored to be working with them. Take them or leave them to be honest, I don’t care.”
I know, that’s what I thought. But apparently it’s good for that date. That’s unless the lettering gets out of hand, of course.
That’s our Bob, always good for an anti-competitors quote, politely and civilly slid into standard prose.
COMICS AT WAR
This week, Waiting For Tommy has the first part into an in-depth journalistic look at the serious side of comic books’ involvement in international conflict.
RECRUITING IN THE GUTTERS
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Be seeing you.