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.

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


[Green Light]

Apparently Marvel Comics are in such demand in China that they are being pirated en masse.

Of course, the creators of said comics get as much royalties as they do the official ones.

I'm beating this one to death, aren't I?


[Yellow Light]

A return to a topic this column hasn't talked about for a while, "Lost Girls." And impending UK legislation.

It has emerged that there is currently a trend in the UK for paedophiles to make and exchange child pornographic images that have been intricately recereated, either by hand or by computer, but are not the original images. And while possessing the original images is a crime, the recreated images are not.

And so the government is bringing in a new bill to outlaw said images as well. However, to be effective, and to stop any further loopholes, the wording has to be quite broad, quite far reaching. And, it seems could cover any images of such activity, whether manga series or the aforementioned "Lost Girls" - as I write currently holding the 21st position on the Bestselling Graphic Novels list on Amazon UK months after its first official UK release.

"Lost Girls" does feature scenes of child sexuality (as well as many more scenes of adult sexuality of course), within a graphic novel that verges on a masterpiece of reinterprative literature. Certainly one of the great graphic novels of the 21st century and, despite its content matter, incredibly popular.

That's going to be quite a lot of people potentially falling foul of this bill - punishable by three years in jail and a place on the Sex Offenders Register.

The government state that such legislation would not be used on such artistic works, but that's not actually refelected in the wording of the bill. And, as Alan Moore knows from his dealings with DC Comics, all the assurances in the world don't mean squat if it's not actually stated in the paperwork.

There are other complications. Sexual relations and marriage in the UK are legal from the age of 16, but a European directive currently outlaws pornographic images of people under 18. So a 17 year old married couple could be arrested for taking a photo of the other naked on their phone. Or, it seems, just drawing it. The US threw out similar legislation for contravening the constition. The UK has no such written constitution, just the will of MPs. And what MP seeking election is going to want to be branded "Paedo Protector" by the tabloid press?

It's not legislation yet. And there are some serious moral dilemmas at stake. And my gut feeling is that lolicon should be banned instantly, for no other reason than "bleaaarghhh" but then justice by gut has rarely worked out well. But either way, if you live in the UK and would like to contact your MP about this matter, then this site is awfully good at helping you do just that.


[Yellow Light]

LITG has printed problems with creators and small publisher Nifty Comics before. So add this to the bucket.

Nick Kisella answered an ad online from publisher Mat Nastos looking for work to publish and was offered the job of adapting one of his comics "The Cadre," into a novel for publication for an upfront fee with royalties, as well as publishing an existing online novel of Nick's - "Morningstars."

He wrote the adaptation at the end of 2006 and was told it would be published in March, subject to a small edit.

It wasn't and Matt did not return emails. He blamed this on server problems and gave another e-mail address, blaming delays on printer problems. He agreed to send a PayPal payment.

On that basis, Nick agreed to write a screenplay for Matt from his outline called "The Barrow" for $500. You can see where this is going can't you? Me, I'd have asked for some money up front by now, but there you go.

So do you think Matt paid anything?

He didn't. Months passed, messages were exchanged. Matt said that he had lost funding on the film, took Nick off Matt's MySpace Friends and that was the end of that.

Ironically, Romulo Soares stated that Matt Nastos owes him money for drawing issues of "Cadre" last year...


[Green Light]

Last week's column was swamped with Doctor Who aficionados. Cheers! And yes, this reported dinner between Neil Gaiman and Steven Moffat from March looks terribly apposite now, doesn't it?

And wasn't Saturday's episode just the bee's knees? As opposed to the wasp's sting.


[Green Light]

Alan Moore larging it at Orbital Comics last week with "Heroes" artist Jason Badower.

And being interviewed by French radio on the French release of "Lost Girls."


[Yellow Light]

On one hand, Dan DiDio's statement that Jim Shooter is definietly the writer on "Legion" because he has twelve issues of Legion written.

One the other, far too many comic pros at the Bristol convention (attended by DC) all convinced that Shooter had parted from DC. And the New York bar scene backing this up.

Could it be that Jim just worked well in advance?

We report, you decide!


From "The Adventures Of John Blake" by Philip Pullman and John Aggs from last week's Guardian newspaper and out-last-Friday "The DFC" new British comic.



[Yellow Light]

It has been pointed out to me that last week's Swipe File of Mark Texeira swiping his own work, once for Maxim and once for Ghost Rider Annual is, in all fairness, Marvel's doing and not Tex.

In fact he probably deserves to get paid twice for this one.


[Green Light]

How the media refer to comics:

Top Shop's current display on Oxford Street.

Last Saturday's episode of BBC TV hospital drama, "Casualty"

Matt Booker of Automattic Comics was on hand to help dress the set.

Apparently it was a really good way to get rid of lots of toys that have been gathering dust.


[Green Light]

On that point it appears that creator DJ Coffman has had trouble getting money out of Platinum and as of this week has suspended their high profile series "Hero By Night" as a result, and he may be negotiating with Platinum to take his rights back.

As a result, a number of other creators not wishing to be named tell me they've been owed thousands for quite a while now.

Platinum declined to comment when asked.


[Red Light]

According to Wikipedia anyway. Where editors have been going to town over any allegations that Pat Lee may have been responsible for not paying people.

Apparently this column is not a good source - which is fair enough. So, anyone care to put a few more reliable sources online?


[Yellow Light]

As denied by Gail in last week's LITG, Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver are not working on "Plastic Man."

In such a intrigued environment, can anyone blame people for reading more into this exchange?

So I walked up to Ethan, and conspiritorially I said, "So, it's Plastic Man, right?" and he just started laughing.

His response... "I've been saying everywhere, 'Gail Simone is THE Wonder Woman writer of this generation. I want to work with Gail, on Wonder Woman!' Why hasn't anyone picked up on that?"


[Green Light]

The June 12th London premiere of "Wanted" has been cancelled, due to Angelina Jolie being a bit too preggers, and the belief that the paparrazzi won't turn up for just Morgan Freeman and James MacAvoy

Maybe we'll get that Coatbridge premiere after all!


[Green Light]

Cover artist for "Civil Wardrobe," Mark Stafford has a couple of events on. First, a display of his work on Bryan Talbot's "Cherubs" series from Desperado, then a sizeable gallery of his work through the decades. I'll be going. Have some fliers.


[Green Light]

The UK junior kids comic "Spider-Man & Friends" has been running its own version of "Civil War." This page is from issue 24, out at the end of June. Enjoy.

The real question about Lil' Civil War, does Cap die at the end after handing himself in, or does he just get a Popsicle spilled on his chest?


[Green Light]

I hate cosplay. I have gone on about it at length in this column. I have mocked practitioners, I have slammed proponents and I live in fear of Eve deciding to dress up in "Sailor Moon" costumes.

Which is why I was sickened to receive a PR for a Manga Shakespeare Cosplay competition.

There is a first prize for the best costume from the Manga Shakespeare series and a second prize for performing a three minute Shakespeare piece in costume. That's got the priorities right hasn't it?

Anyone got a skull with really wide eye sockets so I can go as Yorick?


[Green Light]

Bryan Lee O'Malley vs TokyoPop. Never have I seen such mercenary policy tied up in blatant xenophobia since, well, the Iraq War.

I'd hate to be on his bad side.

It appears web comic "The War Out There" is about to go to war. The creator, Michael J Hunter, has joined the US Army and is being shipped out to Fort Hood, Texas. Which may put a damper on productivity, but should provide ample research.

And as a balance to last week's Steven Moffat/Russell T Davies/Neil Gaiman gushometer, here is a rather wonderful critique of all such fellows (and Paul Cornell to boot (literally)) by Doctor Who novelist, comics author and sci-fi writer Lawrence Miles. I disagree vehemently with about seven major aspects, and about twenty-three minor ones, but damn if it doesn't make an entertaining screed.

"Devashad" is the new comic from Fluid Friction with Simon Bisley and Frank Cho on covers, with artwork by Irish artist Keith Burns and Hong Kong artist Johhny Tam. It looks rather pretty. And a fusion of East and West stylings

PDF Preview here.

There will be an early release at friend-of-LITG New York store MidTown Comics, with a general release in September.

Haven't done one of these for a while... the latest RichAndMark video - The Daft Punk Card Trick.


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

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

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

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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