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 light system is on hold for now. They usually represent how reliable each story is, but with the column on a little skeleton staffing of late, I'd just take everything with a big handful of salt and hope for the best. Normal service will be resumed soon.

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

ITEM! Today I begin a series of pieces for The Daily Show/Colbert Report's website Indecision 2008. Why not give them the LITG bump?

ITEM! An LITG piece about actress Jordan Bayne drumming up interest in her appearance in a non-existent movie version of "High Moon" from Zuda looks like it may have been a repeat performance. Six years ago, Ms. Bayne did the same with a street crew of fans online insisting she was the new Wonder Woman - and abused anyone who pointed out that, actually, she wasn't.

SWIPE FILE ITEM! Check out the The NYPD Training and Recruitment Process. Then Gotham City's Training and Recruitment Program viral marketing for "The Dark Knight." I wonder what the copyright issues are there...

ITEM! An actual Chip Kidd designed cover for "Final Crisis", logos and all...

That's issue 7, using the cover image announced for issue 1... “Final Crisis" couldn't be an unannounced reversed numbering series, like “Countdown" could it?

SPECULATION CORNER ITEM! “DC Universe" #0 is the epilogue to "Countdown To Infinite Crisis" and the cliffhanger into "Final Crisis." Despite being one of the more high profile books, sporting a very low fifty cent cover price and coming a week before Free Comic Book Day, I understand it may have been underordered. Smart stores have got shed loads. Less-than-smart stores may have ordered it like a regular comic book. Where do you shop?

This will be the biggest selling comic of the year. It still may not be enough. And hey, even if it hits $1, that's a 100% mark up on the cover price. Fill your boots.

ITEM! A list of provisional nominations for the Eagle Awards was circulated the other week, with several names per category. Their purpose was to weed out any people, publishers or projects that weren't eligible for the award they'd been nominated. The wrong year, the wrong category, that sort of thing. And there were a couple.

But one significant difference between the provisional list and the actual list was the reduction of award nominations for the comic "Hope Falls" and its creators Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood.

Apparently, there had been fears of ballot stuffing expressed by the webmaster. But while Tony Lee had not been shy in coming forward in terms of electioneering (by, you know, mentioning the awards on his blog), anything more was a bit beyond his reach.

As it was, “Hope Falls" lost its nominations for Best Cover, Best New Comic (replaced by of all things, “Thor"). Tony Lee lost Favourite Comics Writer nomination(replaced by Brian Bendis) though kept Favourite Newcomer Writer. And Dan Boultwood lost his only nomination for Best Penciller (replaced by Frank Cho).

The validity of said nominations aside, this did seem unfair in that said individuals and projects had participated honorably under the rules, to see their standing reduced. "Hope Falls, nominated for Eight Eagles" is more impressive than for just five.

The Eagles has had an occasionally undeserved reputation for "fixing" the results, so as to give out awards that would be taken seriously by the industry. While this year, there were attempts to bring more openness and rigour, that very procedure may have caused more problems.

Tony Lee told me, "Well, it's no secret that I've had my run ins in the past with the Eagles, one of the supposed reasons I left 'Comics International’ as a columnist (also run by Eagles organiser Mike Conroy) a year ago was because of the 2006/7 awards and the way that they were run. But this year we were promised better and brighter, and I'd like to hope that for an award ceremony that's not only one of the longest in the business, but also the equivalent of the UK BAFTAS award, that the eyes are fixed utterly on the ball.

"To be dropped off 'Best Writer,' I can understand. After all, I'm up for 'Best NEW Writer,' and it's probably taking the piss to keep me on both. But if this is true, then I am furious that they managed to drop Dan Boultwood off the list.

"Dan is not only a good friend, but he's a bloody good artist. We've worked on 'The Gloom,’ 'Hope Falls’ and now 'The Prince Of Baghdad’ for the DFC - and not once has he received any recognition. Granted, I'm a web whore and I'll pimp my tricks out to anyone who'll want it - but Dan? He doesn't yearn the limelight, he prefers to do his job.

"And to get an award nomination, even if he didn't win, would have been one of his greatest achievements. Even more so as unlike me, the people voting chose him on his own merits, rather than as part of the 'Tony and Dan' gang.

"The nominations for the Eagle Awards are made by the public and thus the public decide. And if the public decided that Dan should have been nominated for Best Artist? Then by Christ he should have been on that list. How the hell do you 'accidentally' lose someone who's already been PLACED on the list?

"What annoys me the most is that even if the Eagles now apologise, and place Dan on the nominations? It's too late. Every man and their horse have voted, and to restart the voting would just cause even more of a screw up.

"Regardless of the reasons, a mistake like this is unacceptable and shouldn't be swept under the table. How many other categories were mistakenly made?

"All I can do now is hope that Hope Falls wins - because if it doesn't, there's no other way that anyone else in that room will know how great an artist Dan is."

ITEM! Pirate download tracker site Demonoid is back. Closed down last year, amid all sorts of legal writs, Demonoid was a popular comic book download site. In its absence, downloaders had to use the slightly less new-user friendly DC++ system, face the smugness of the bulletproof Pirate Bay or brave foreign language interfaces with the Indonesian community site Kaskus.

ITEM! Prior to deadline a couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail claiming that a “Y The Last Man" spinoff was in the works. This source while relatively new and anonymous had been able to provide rumors that were bang on the money. This one sounded convincing, a series set in the Y World but without Yorick, “Sandman Presents" style with many writers with Brian K Vaughan showrunning aka Buffy Season 8. So I asked BKV for his thoughts �" and it was the first he’d heard of it. Dittto Vertigo. So the story didn’t run, despite it noodling at me since.

I just received the message 'So close. Happy April's Fool'. Nice try. Sorry chaps. And no Joss Whedon or Drew Goddard writing Y. Better luck next time…

ITEM! There has been much online mocking of a certain panel from a recent issue of Mighty Avengers.

But John Byrne actually went to the trouble of lettering a similarly posed Doom work of his own and posting it on his board to show how Doom should actually speak.

Is this the first example of a major comics professional engaging in mashup? Or does Byrne just really really want to work with Bendis?

ITEM! Byrne also reports on ex-DC editor Paul Kupperberg being dropped from running the now-non existent comics section in the WWE magazine. He reprints a couple of his own contributions...

ITEM! Lee Barnett has been prepping his famed "Hypotheticals" panel for the Bristol convention too. The website is here, the Facebook eventhere and a list of initials include JS, WS, LS, EV and regular comic shop panelist JB. Expect Byrne/FX, Siegel & family, creators responding online to bad reviews, BND/OMD, and Absolute editions being recoloured as topics for possible pontification...

ITEM! I'm not going to the New York Comic Con. Sorry. But anyone who is, feel free to email me updates from the con floor, the panels and most importantly, the bars. May I remind you of Heidi MacDonald's performance last year?

One panel I am sad to miss is Lee Nordling's panel concerning the adjustment of the creator and the publisher to moving from serialised comics to original graphic novels, with Liesa Abrams, Senior Editor, Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin imprint, Rich Johnson (NOT ME!), Co-Publishing Director, Yen Press, Barbara Randall Kesel, Partner of The Pack, Editor, Writer Steve Saffel, Editor, Titan Books & Independent I.P. Developer, Chris Schluep, Senior Editor, Ballantine and in the audience, Erich Schoeneweiss, Production Manager, the Random House Publishing Group.

So... which creators fancy a whopping great advance?

ITEM! A press release was sent out to the usual suspects last week promoting the Markosia book "Lazarus: Immortal Coils."

Jim Valentino of Image wasn't happy and replied to all about the similarities to Image's current "Lazarus" title, bccing in Diamond Comics representatives.

The creators were bemused, considering they'd danced this dance last year, from the other perspective, when they'd announced their Lazarus book, to find Image about to publish a similarly named title. At the time Jim Valentino suggested the title change... one he seemed to have forgotten by the time their press release came round.

ITEM! Who's your most inspiring American latino? Why not vote for one "Joe Quezada" here!

ITEM! Back to Dabel my toes in the paddling pool... I've been hearing about the Italian publisher ItalyComics. They signed a deal with the Dabel Brothers in 2004 to publish their entire line in Italy, after already publishing "Hedge Knight" Vol. 1. However, when “Hedge Knight" Vol. 2 came round, ItalyComics discovered that they had sold international rights to Marvel. Nevertheless, Les Dabel assured ItalyComics that they could publish the work in Italy - but that Marvel weren't releasing the files. Marvel asked for proof of the deal and of payment, but as of a year ago, still couldn't pass on the files as there was still "things to be resolved with the Dabels." And Les went from claiming he had the files to sent, to.. not sending them again. And after the company split with Marvel, Les Dabel stopped returning ItalyComics' emails. could the DelRay deal have got in the way? The deal expires next months - four years without one Italian publication...

They should have just torrented the files...

ITEM! Mark Millar and Tony Harris are doing a US signing tour to promote the release of Image book "War Heroes."

Atomic Comics in Phoenix, Arizona, are one of the lucky recipients.


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

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