Welcome to the most popular and longest running comics column on the internet. In its various forms, Lying In The Gutters has covered rumours and gossip in the comics industry for fourteen long glorious and quite scary years.

All stories are sourced from well-connected individuals. But I urge you to use your judgment and remember, context is everything.

The traffic lights are an indication (and only that) of how reliable I believe the story to be, based on source, context and gut feel. Red lets you know I think this rumour is bunkum, but it is still one being spread about and could do with stamping on. Amber indicates I think there is a bias involved in the telling here, or it just seems a little dodgy. And Green as far as I can tell (as far as I can ever tell) is the real deal, junior. But it's still quite possibly wrong.

Nevertheless, do remember, Lying In The Gutters is for your entertainment. Neither Fair Nor Balanced. Please don't shoot the messenger.


[Green Light]Albert Uderzo, artist and co-creator of "Asterix The Gaul," the best selling comic series in the world, has had a change of heart.

Recently Uderzo sold his half of publishing company Albert-Rene, along with the half owned by the daughter of his late partner and co-creator Rene Goscinny to publishing giant Hachette.

I understand that Uderzo has changed his mind about forbidding the Asterix series to be continued after his death.

The Asterix series will continue, though Uderzo has reserved the right to choose his successors. This may happen before Uderzo does pass on, as at 81, he might benefit from an easier workload.

The next Asterix volume will be published in October for the character's 50th anniversary. An all-Uderzo collection of Asterix short stories. There is no news as yet as to whether it will or not be his last Asterix volume.

Rumoured creative teams to continue the series include "Trolls de Troy" creators, writer Christophe Arleston and artist Jean-Louis Mourier. Arleston is a friend and big fan of Uderzo. His only US-published series to date is "Ythaq," part of the Soleil-Marvel deal.

Looks like Asterix may beat death one last time.


[Green Light]I have learned that Marvel will be making a major announcement regarding Stephen King's "The Stand" hardcover tomorrow.

Should have lots of children riding their tricycles to their local comic shop in their droves.


[Green Light]A little patience if you would.

In March, I've got a comic out from Brain Scan Studios, called "Watchmensch." I may have mentioned it previously.

It's a little parody comic by myself and Simon Rohrmuller, telling the story of a group of New York lawyers who find themselves being killed or disgraced on the eve of the premiere of a rather high profile movie, and stretches back to the signing of the contract for "Superman" in the 1930s.

"Watchmensch" in the current Previews on page 244. I hope that anyone who reads "Lying In The Gutters" will enjoy it. Hell, consider it small payment for the weeks of free reading.

As with any small press comic, the likelihood of your local retailer stocking the book for you to pick it up off the shelf is slimmer than with, say "X-Men." So if you would like a copy, please tell your retailer this week, while they are preparing orders for March.

Retailers, if you are stocking any copies of "Watchmensch," do let me know, and I will list the store in LITG the week the book ships, and list you on the currently underdeveloped www.watchmensch.com which should receive significant promotion in the run up to publication.

And when you make your order with your retailer, tell me, so I can make sure I list them.

Appreciate it. Thank you. Hope you enjoy.

Adam Geen of Took Comic and T Daniel of Hidden Robot from the Bendis Board created a couple of banners (which also work well as sigs) - please distribute far and wide!


[Green Light]Thanks to Around Comics, we learn that James Robinson is writing a Captain America One Shot for the character's 70th anniversary, with Marcos Martin.


[Green Light]Marvel accidental solicitations seem to indicate a "Hawkeye: Dark Reign" from Andy Diggle. Probably starring Bullseye in his new role...?


[Green Light]So, "Amazing Spider-Man" #583 comes out Wednesday in the US and Thursday in the UK. Featuring Obama on the insides and, in variant editions, Obama on the cover. And a media onslaught.

Lying In The Gutters has discovered that the print run of the Obama variant is around 25% to 30% of the standard cover.

But a bunch of stores won't have copies.

You see, in order to get them, stores had to order more than their copies of "Amazing Spider-Man" #575. Some did, some didn't some meant to, some forgot, some made a mistake.

Those who were able to order copies ordered lots however.

Which means you may see quite a disparity in distribution. Some stores may have twice as many Obama covers as they have normal issues. Some will have none.

Now, a second print is coming next week for the 21st, all with Obama on the front, with some stores getting copies in time for the inauguration. But that will still be a week from now.

eBay has been incredibly erratic over pre-sales. With copies going for anything from $127 to $3.25, and it's not even out yet. This really is a case of the price being whatever you can get someone to pay for it.

My best guess is the first print will be a regular $100 book before the second print hits, then the price may halve. It will still be a valuable book for the next few months before hitting the $10-$30 mark on the walls at comic shows.

You get a copy? Consider trading a copy with a store without copies for... I dunno... an Omnibus? It's possible.

Midtown Comics in New York City will sell one copy per customer at cover price as will Gosh Comics in London - however they expect to sell out in seconds. Other shops will price them as premium items, but still expect to sell out in hours.

In related news, Marvel shipped "X-Men: Manifest Destiny" #5 with the insides of "X-Men/Spider-Man" #3. Retailers have been told to destroy copies. Not quite a Pottymouth Batman or an Alcoholic Superman, but still.


[Green Light]Last week, LITG mentioned that UK chatshow host, comedian and presenter, Jonathan Ross, is working on a few comic books. I received a few comments bemoaning "celebrities" who suddenly decide they want to do a comic book.

Well, it's hardly "suddenly."

Top Ten Reasons Why Jonathan Ross And Comics Are A Match Made In Heaven:

He brings up comic books often in his radio and TV interviews - almost to an obsessive degree.

He opened a comic shop in Soho, London, with fellow celebrity comic fan Paul Gambaccini, Top Ten Comics, and became his own biggest customer.

He owns two copies of "Amazing Fantasy" #15, one for show, one for best.

He appeared in Mark Millar's first comic, "Saviour" in 1989, as a famous chat show host who was secretly the anti-Christ.

He recently re-reviewed "Watchmen" for a national newspaper.

He appeared in the The Totally Stonking, Surprisingly Educational And Utterly Mindboggling Comic Relief Comic, playing himself presenting the BBC Comic Relief telethon, and participated in a Virgin Megastore signing for the comic.

He wrote and presented "In Search Of Steve Ditko" for BBC4, which saw him and Neil Gaiman traipsing the streets of Manhattan looking for their hero as well as interviewing the likes of Stan Lee and Alan Moore.

He hosted the UK's National Comic Awards in 1997. I pressed a copy of my "X-Flies" comic into his hand, turns out he'd already bought his copy.

When presenting Neil Gaiman with an Eisner, he took the opportunity to French kiss Neil on the podium, in the manner of Britney and Madonna.

When Robert Downey Jr. guested on Ross' chatshow, Downey presented a piece of art by Joe Quesada featuring Jonathan Ross as his favourite character, "Doctor Stwange"

And now he is writing comics.

So there. Jonathan Ross and Comics? Get a room!


[Green Light]Talking of celebrities writing comics... John Barrowman, who plays the Captain Jack character in both "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood," is writing a Torchwood comic for Titan's "Torchwood Magazine" #14, entitled "Captain Jack and the Selkie," with his sister Carole E. Barrowman, with art by Tommy Lee Edwards and Trevor Goring.

That's the think about Captain Jack, he always attracts the talent.


[Green Light]You'd have thought I'd have learnt my lesson writing gossip stories about "Doctor Who" wouldn't you? Well you'd be wrong.

There's a controversy of sorts, it seems, regarding betting on the recent Doctor Who casting. Something I should know myself, after putting £50 on Joseph.

As I reported last week, a few days before the announcement that Matt smith would be the new Doctor Who, he suddenly appeared on the bookies lists and soon rocketed to favourite before the category was pulled, with tens of thousands of pounds being bet, most of them in Northampton, from where Matt Smith grew up.

The tabloid press have centred criticism on the BBC, hoping to get another Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand sized scalp, but the evidence points in a different direction.

One enterprising Googler on the Doctor Who Forum found a football-related forum with the following very interesting post from an amateur footballer going by the name of Maximus:

"One of my best mates is about to be named the new Dr Who. His name is Matt Smith, get money on it today!"

Apparently they've been friends since they were teenagers.

Matt Smith is a keen amateur football player himself. Looks like something leaked on the pitch... or in the showers after?

Maximus added after the announcement, "So how many of you took my advice and made some money today?"

Not me, sadly.


[Yellow Light]Heritage Lottery Fund






Colour Scheme


[Green Light]Dan Slott wants babies. Babies NOW!

When internet board fights lead to the police being notified.

Tom Brevoort punks Steve Wacker with the assistance of Twitter...


Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.

I'm still eBaying odds and sods here. My social networking is pretty much all Facebook and Twitter these days, but I'm around at Bebo, MySpace, ComicSpace too.

You can see my Guido Fawkes cartoon most Mondays here. Here's the latest.

Contact me on richjohnston@gmail.com or on AOL Instant Messenger as TwistRich.

You can also write to me at 8 Robin Hood Lane, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3PU ENGLAND

Or call me/text me on 0780 1350982 from the UK or 01144780 1350982 from the US.

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