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 simple. Green means there's a pretty good chance it's true. Amber means the source may be lacking, or have a clear bias. And Red means that I reckon it's bollocks. Still, you never know.

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


[Yellow Light]Stan Lee hosted a fundraising event back in 2000, the "The Hollywood Gala Salute To William Jefferson Clinton And Hillary Rodham Clinton" arranged by Peter Paul, the man behind Stan Lee Media, the internet venture that eventually collapsed into bankruptcy and Paul was jailed after pleading guilty to stock manipulation.

Hillary Clinton's campaign team recently resubmitted their report to the FEC, stating that Stan Lee contributed $225,000 in 2000 to her Senate campaign.

However in a deposition back in 2005, (handily just uploaded to YouTube here and here), Lee states that he did not make such a financial contribution to her campaign. He does, under oath, describe himself as the co-creator of Spider-Man and Hulk.

Lee states that he wrote a $100,000 cheque after being given a $100,000 cheque made payable to himself by Peter Paul, but states he never had $100,000 to donate to anybody.

It looks like this was a proxy donation to Clinton's Senate campaign, by Peter Paul for unknown reasons. Paul not only served time for insider trading regarding Stan Lee Media, after being extradited from Brazil, but has a history of drug dealing and international fraud convictions from the 1970s. After his past was revealed, Clinton distanced herself from Paul.

This matter is being revived just as Clinton's campaign for Presidential candidacy has received a boost... but my favourite clip is from a forthcoming rightwing attack video, with Hillary talking to Peter Paul about the fundraising event, with Stan Lee jumping in.

STAN: I thought myself it was because we're offering everyone a free comic book but I guess I was wrong.

HILLARY: Oh I think that's a big draw myself, it's the reason I'm coming


HILLARY: Stan, what we haven't told you, is that you're going to be the next Secretary of Defence.

STAN: Well, I expected that.

HILLARY: Because superheroes will be a lot cheaper than the missile defence system.

STAN: Hillary, you're wonderful.

and finally:

STAN: You've got the mutant vote right around the world.

HILLARY: Some people think I'm the mutant candidate, so I should have.

I can hear the CafePress engines whirring right now.


[Green Light]Look for three major DC names to make a move to Marvel rather shortly. Two exclusive artists and one of my favourite comic book writers of all time who transformed one ill-regarded book into an all time classic.

Let the guesses begin... and watch for future "Young X-Men" covers for a clue.


[Yellow Light]Remember when Joss Whedon was writing the Wonder Woman movie, until Whedon and the production company parted ways? Suddenly the studio bought another World War II set script from a pair of unknown writers with the excuse that it was to protect copyright and to take it off the market?

That never smelt right at the time.

There was no copyright to protect from a spec script. And who else could the writers sell the script to apart from the Wonder Woman owners?

Well, it's just got more complicated. I've found copies of both the WWII script by Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland as well as an earlier 2004 script by "Bionic Woman" writer Laeta Kalogridis. And they bear strong similarities.

Indeed the first thirty pages of both scripts are identical in places, in terms of plot and dialogue. Almost as if one is a heavily revised draft of the other.





I could make all sorts of suppositions from this, over who may have written what and when, that would only land me in legal trouble. So I'll let you all do that instead.

Anyone know what is actually going on?


[Yellow Light]The character shots of Watchmen went live this week. I do hope they have a positive effect. I'm told by Hollywood sources that "tracking" on "Watchmen" is comparatively very low outside of the usual geek circles, well behind other comparable projects a year before they hit the screens... the panic starts now.

I also hear there was talk of incorporating the "Watchmen" into the 52 Worlds of the new DC Multiverse.

Wiser heads, however, have prevailed. For now.


[Green Light]Micah Wright was the acclaimed writer of "Stormwatch: Team Achilles," a series cancelled in mid-arc when it was revealed that Micah's established history as a Ranger had been fabricated.

Wright was dropped by DC/Wildstorm and effectively blacklisted by the entire comics industry.

Well, he's back. With a new black and white comic.

It's called "Duster" and it looks like this.

There are a number of comic creators with a reputation for being economical with the actualité when it comes to promoting their comics work. Can Wright be forgiven with the rest of them?

I do hope so. He's a damn fine comics writer. See more at Evil Scum.


[Yellow Light]So, what of Brian Bendis' comments on "Final Crisis" last week, "in 2012 when final crisis is done, we'll see what's what" interpreted by many as stating that the book is very late.

This seemed to be confirmed from a number of sources. But one had more details.

I'm told Grant Morrison turned in the issue one script back in November. However, it was not exactly what has been previously discussed and didn't bounce off from the end of "Countdown" as intended. It also goes off on what can only be described as Morrisonian tangents. You know, what readers call "the good bits."

So Dan DiDio flew to Scotland after Thanksgiving to discuss possibilities further. I understand the script is unchanged, but it was from those discussions that the 50 cent "DC Universe" #0, shipping the week after Free Comic Book Day, emerged. Co-written with Geoff Johns, it will keep any "Countdown" continuity issues out of the "Final Crisis" series and prepare the way... very much the John The Baptist of comic books.

Geoff Johns is also writing a Final Crisis-spinoff "Legion" mini series drawn by George Perez that will slot into all of this very nicely.

Artist JG Jones is currently working on issue two. I've been told that if there are production delays, rather than throw in "Countdown"/"Infinite Crisis" style fill-in artists, or cause "Civil War" style sales-harming delays on the book, expect the pages by JG Jones to reduce for subsequent issues with back up stories with the DCU #0 artists Sciver, Pacheco and Daniel (though Ethan Van Sciver calls bullshit on this) to replace them. Which means the book may extend a couple of issues to fit in all of Morrison's story, the retailers get their fill, and everyone wins...

Apart from Brian Bendis.


[Green Light]The saga of Josh Hoopes continues, with an eye to a conclusion.

Josh is a young man, accused of taking commissions from publishers and individuals for a sum of money, then not delivering the work or hiring other artists to do the work without paying them.

There are threads with people showing off artwork Josh has represented as his own, or art delivered to publishers as his own. If you can help identify delivered artwork, please do so.

One Robert Irving was recently stung by Josh for $600. Josh initially represented himself as working for Image Comics and Rob Liefeld using the pseudonym Pedi, used by Hollywood digital illustrator and comics artist Pedram Shohadai. Of course fraud is just a part of it.

Those with complaints against Josh can make a report here.


[Green Light]Scott Dunbier is getting closer every day.

Paul Cornell is irritated by Botham and Willis, and has added a new music video, below.

Pia Guerra is sort of regretting the haircut now.

Gary Erskine is watching Oldboy on Blu-Ray. Awesome.

Laurenn McCubbin is twittering: I have eaten so much sugar today, I might puke. Srsly. THERE WILL BE PUKE. I am a little dissapointed in myself - I had been doing so good

Jack Lawrence is SO glad it's the weekend!

Dan Goldman is decompressing in Austin TX.

Richard Starkings is awake.

Thomas Nachlik is still drawing naked people.

Jamie McKelvie is reading Pattern Recognition again and remembering that Cayce Pollard is his secret fictional girlfriend.


[Yellow Light]Did you grab a handful of "Buffy" #12s like I recommended? Then sell them to Australian my lucky friends.

And from Dark Horse, another Whedon-penned "Serenity" series starts this week. Get in before the Whedon fanboygirls then scalp them on eBay.

And do you still have those issues of "Locke & Key"#1? That's some profit. Issue 2 is out this week, and you can also sell the second issue of IDW's Doctor Who to Brits like me if you try. Another goodie from IDW... a prequel to the autumn's big CGI movie, "Igor." All new stories working as origins to the characters. In the new Previews. Worth a punt, if it goes all "Shrek"-like?

There's a new issue of "Palooka Ville" out from Drawn & Quarterly. It will depreciate the moment you buy it, but it's so gooooood...


Mark Millar's been asked to direct a TV ad.

Brendon Connelly's latest short film.

Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" gets a rather cutting parody.

A comic shop cum counter culture cafe? It can only be Camden.

Where's Pat Lee? This photo, taken in Hong Kong...


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

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.

The Mandalorian's Combat Skills Have a Surprising Weakness

More in CBR Exclusives