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. Amber indicates I think there is a heavy bias involved 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.

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


[Green Light]

On Friday, we heard of John Nee's resignation from DC Comics, and news that he was currently working out his notice. A number of people queried the importance to DC of said announcement, especially in the light of Chuck Dixon being fired off books or rumours of Dan DiDio's future. Well.

John Nee, Senior VP was DC's face to the international business world. He was responsible for originating, networking and brokering all sorts of deals, including videogames, licensed publishing (both from other publishers to DC and from DC to other publishers), dealing with Warner Bros at their Burbank lot as well as oversight of WildStorm and CMX... and anything else he could snap up. He is credited with bringing in millions and millions of dollars to the DC coffers. In fact it's hard to think of anyone living responsible for bringing in more money every year than John Nee right now. One e-mailer described him as "the engine of DC Comics" and fears for DC's long term revenue stream after Nee's departure - qualifying that the deals Nee has put in place could see DC healthy without their US comics making a single cent for years.

Nee was also very much liked at Wildstorm and DC, despite often being the man forced to make hard decisions. I understand that DC corporate are not happy with his decision to leave.

Nee did not respond to inquiries regarding his circumstances.

DC have also removed the thread about Nee on the DC Boards but they are still available for a limited time in Google's cache.

And with both Scott Dunbier and John Nee gone from DC, Jim Lee looks awfully lonesome.


[Yellow Light]

Last week, the internet seemed to get itself in quite the lather about the possibility of Paul Levitz firing Dan DiDio, Senior Vice President - Executive Editor, DC Universe and replacing him. Based on nothing but fan discontent based on message board postings, this wishful thinking was whipped around the internet long enough until people convinced themselves that it was going to happen, even reaching outside of the fan community.

But if wishes were horses, genies would ride.

1) The oft-mentioned Jimmy Palmiotti is a very good friend of Dan DiDio, has been for years, and is unlikely to take his best mate's job.

2) If it was down to Paul Levitz, Dan would probably not have been appointed to his current role in the first place.

And 3) I've been told that Warner are so happy with Dan DiDio's overall performance and plan for the future that they have renewed Dan's contract, due to expire in September, for a number of years.

This isn't the first time the internet has called for Dan's head and whipped themselves into believing that a message board post was the equivalent of a shareholders' report, only for reality to bite them in the arse. I wrote something very similar this time last year and was accused of being a DC stooge. I was right then, looks like I'm right now. Look forward to the same thing come June 2009.

It is true that there has been creative, editorial and suit divides at DC over DiDio's actions of late. Jim Shooter quit "Legion" (though leaving enough scripts so that no one will notice for quite some time). Grant Morrison has spoken out as to editorial incompetence over the "Countdown" series and spinoffs. Chuck Dixon has put the reason he was told his "services were no longer required" down at Dan's feet. And I hear a number of stories from senior creative sources as to how frustrating their approaches to Dan have gone - he's so flip floppy he makes John Kerry look like Ian Paisley. "Countdown" assistant editor Jeanine Schaefer's resignation and move to Marvel is seen as a junior vote of no confidence.

And yes, there was an emergency senior editorial meeting held last week... who knows what answers it will provide? It is likely that there is some editorial shakeup in the works.

But as of now, for the foreseeable future, Dan is still The Man.


[Green Light]

While I have reports of TokyoPop arranging with creators to return the rights to no-longer-published series, and a resultant creator-owned manga boom running around the industry (Dark Horse, Image and Oni seem to be the main beneficiaries here), it's not good news for people at Platinum.

A few weeks ago, DJ Coffman broke the news of "Hero By Night" leaving Platinum over delayed payments. Despite painting as rosy a picture of Platinum as he could, in some cases to a ludicrous level, I understand he was ostracised by the company who considered his act a betrayal - and certainly against NDA clauses in his contract. Though somehow the payments clauses also in the contract weren't seen as an issue.

Anyway, DJ Coffman has recently updated us. He was recently paid some of the owed money by Platinum, but when he enquired about getting his publishing rights back, Chief Operating Officer Brian Altounian told him

"...Please be advised that due to the controversy stirred up as a result of your recent blogging and interviews, all discussions between us regarding any potential licensing back to you of limited rights to Hero By Night are on hold. At this time, we cannot say when those discussions might be resurrected."

DJ Coffman had a number of plans for exploiting the popular web series online and in print. As of now however, the series is being held hostage by Platinum.

This appears to be a completely vindictive action on Platinum's part and should be a nail in the coffin for the belief that Platinum are a creator-friendly company. If you sign with them, know what you're getting into.


[Green Light]

Original artwork from "The Twelve" #6

The final coloured artwork from "The Twelve" #6

It seems to be missing a


[Green Light]

As rumoured in LITG, David Finch has confirmed that Jeph Loeb's "Ultimatum" series will see the cancellation of all the Ultimate titles. What happens next of course is still a mystery...

Alex Fitch interviewed the "Phonogram" boys, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie for Resonance FM. During which Jamie admitted that "Suburban Glamour" originated from a quote by Andi Watson. And the two both have some fun at Marc Ellerby and Matt Fraction's expense.


[Green Light]

"No Heroics" is a new ITV sitcom, set in a London Soho bar with a cast of superheroes on their time off. Reminiscent of the "Clarks" bar of the Wildstorm Universe and the comic "Super Hero Happy Hour," this sitcom stars a number of familiar Britcom faces, James Lance from "Teachers" and "Moving Wallpaper," Patrick Baladi from "Party Animals" and "The Office," Claire Keelan from "Nathan Barley" and "A Cock And Bull Story," "Tony Way from "Tittybangbang" and "Fun At The Funeral Parlour," Nicolas Burns from "Nathan Barley" and "Man Stroke Woman" and Rebekah Staton from "Pulling" and "Outlaws."

The house rules are simple, no powers, no costumes, it seems very much a "Cheers "Meets "Heroes" by way of "The Specials" and it's written and produced by "Tiger Aspect" producer Drew Pearce. I'll be seeing a preview shortly and will report back.


[Green Light]

Where in the world is "Titans" #4?

Slipping down the solicitation schedules, issue #5 was originally solicited as this:


Written by Judd Winick; Art by Rodney Buchemi; Cover by Ian Churchill

In the stand-alone story "Date Night," four Titans face the fact that love is a battlefield. Meanwhile, a mysterious figure is making his way to Titans Tower. Who is this ominous stranger - and how does he or she know the Titans?

On sale August 13 . 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

But this tongue-tastic description is no more, replaced by:


Written by Judd Winick; Art by Julian Lopez and Prentis Rollins; Cover by Joe Benitez

When Raven's half-brothers return to claim her and unite Trigon's bloodline, Raven must choose which ties are stronger: the family she was born to, or the new family she has made.

On Sale September 24, 2008. 32pg. FC, $2.99 US

It looks like Dan DiDio may have a hands on approach. Could it be the original issue have been scrapped? And if so, why? It can't be the art, that was finished a week ago. Could it just be fan response to the current direction?

Either way, it looks like the only way you'll have of reading the original issue is to buy the original artwork on eBay.


[Green Light]

Did you realise that DC has had three stories featuring extraterrestrial insect-themed female villains in the last year - Insect Queen, Queen Bee and Red Bee. Oh, and the mystical insect-themed female villain in Countdown probably counts too.


[Yellow Light]

No longer content with running content from volunteers from the website, Wizard is now asking people to pay for the privilege.

Reviewers used to receive PDF files from both Marvel and DC for review purposes but now these have been withdrawn by DC. So if you're meant to review a DC book for Wizard, you have to buy it. And there are no reimbursements.

Maybe they should check out the next article.


[Green Light]

I'm receiving information that First Look Marvel comics are being pirated a full week before publication to a number of direct download sites, as opposed to the more common peer-to-peer filesharing downloads. The Digital Comics Preservation/Minutemen pirate teams are known for getting what they call "0-day scans" up by late Wednesday or Thursday of the day the comics ship, but these scans beat them by a full week, and indicate that retail staff who receive such advance books for business purposes, may be involved. Each book is tagged "anonymous-DCP."


[Green Light]

I publish the banns of marriage between Brendon Connelly of this parish and Rachael Scalf of the parish of Yankeeland. If any of you know any cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony as well as upload this short film, ye are to declare it. This is the first time of asking.


[Green Light]

This week is... Avengers Week! "Avengers Fairy Tales" #3, "Avengers The Initiative" #14, "House Of M Avengers" TPB, "Mighty Avengers" #15, "New Avengers" #42, "Secret Invasion Runaways/Young Avengers" #1, "Young Avengers Presents" #6 and "Ultimates 3" #4 all shipping on Wednesday/Thursday!

One day these kind of things will be planned better...


[Yellow Light]

Recently, Jeff Smith gave Ohio State University permission to print a book called "Before Bone" which collected the best of his college strip "Thorn." It was limited to 500 copies and priced at $25. Naturally it sold out and is selling on eBay for $200 plus. But you can still find copies at the original price... just hunt down copies in Ohio.

"Kick Ass #3" was allocated to most stores a month ago. And the next week, most stores got their remaining copies. But not the UK. For some reason, they've been told not to expect the remains of their copies. And last week, through my advertising work, I heard about production details on the Vaughn/Gold movie - this is all; likely to go proper-official any day now. Early issues are hard to find in the UK as it is, issue #3 could well be one of those stratospheric copies. Even when the second print comes out.


[Green Light]

Are you a prominent comic creator or publisher? With a character that may have some public awareness? A successful series of graphic novels say, or a film? Then Harrods, the most famous department store in the world, may be interested in using your character for its September promotional posters. Think Sergeant Pepper and a few comic book characters included. E-mail this column if you're interested. But be quick. Confidences assured.


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And my Wii number is 0512 2690 8446 2879. Anyone for a game of Mario Kart?

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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