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. It is read by more people than the Bible.

I may have just made that last bit up. But still.

All stories are sourced from well-connected individuals and checked with respective publisher representatives before publication. Mostly. The veracity of each story is judged by me and given a spotlight - Green is the most reliable, Amber means there's likely an interest involved or the likelihood isn't set and Red means even I can't quite bring myself to believe it.

Lying In The Gutters is for your entertainment. Neither Fair Nor Balanced.

Looks like I'm going to be going to the Big Apple Convention in New York this November. Don't ask how, or why, sometimes opportunities just present themselves.

And this Sunday I'll be at the London Comics Expo promoting "Flying Friar" with my daughter, Eve. Probably. If her mothers lets her come. Here, have some shelftalkers for your local comics shop.


[Yellow Light]Catwoman. She's was a villain, then an anti-heroine but of late she's been a bit too much of a hero.

That's all changing. The current arc "Mother's Day" will see something very unfortunate happen to her daughter, Helena, which will tip Selina back over to the dark side. It's time for Catwoman to be a bad girl again.

How small do they make refrigerators?


[Green Light]Two weeks ago, I talked about DC/Vertigo's plans to republish the AiT/PlanetLar trade paperback "Demo" and to publish a new series.

This week I hear AiT/PlanetLar plans to republish the DC cult-favourite "Major Bummer" by John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke as a hardcover. Initially published for 15 issues, with a remarkably fresh and bizarre take on the superhero concept. Read more here.

When contacted, publisher Larry Young declined to comment. Which means the story has just jumped from an Amber to a Green.

Larry also seems to have JH Williams as a personal PR agent... just after Williams also seems to possibly confirm his LITG-rumoured "Batwoman" project with Greg Rucka.


[Green Light]Greg Rucka talks candidly about working on "52" for DC. Lets take a few quotes out of context:

"the idea for One Year Later was a good idea. It just utterly failed in execution…. one of the things that Countdown messed up was the continuity for Renee…Dan's responsible for a lot of blood spilled in the DCU in the last several years, but you can't blame him for Osiris, Isis, or Charlie… There's actually a whole page from that issue that was pulled, showing Renee and Prettiest Lass In Shiruta rolling around in the sack…. I think the penciller actually snuck a dildo into one of the panels, I'm not sure…. The fact that she's gay means that we're always going to be accused of pandering. And then you have to deal with artists who, almost by definition, want to show as much skin on shapely women as possible."

A couple of pages from "52" that had to be sent back or altered…

And yes, we are left wondering why editor Steve Wacker went from "give me the book" to "get me out of here."


[Green Light]LITG is proud to present the trailer by Kev F Sutherland from the Beano Annual 2008 - "Billy The Cat vs General Jumbo."

Seriously, for any Brit over 35, this is "Superman Vs Spider-Man."

Wikipedia reminds me that General Jumbo was reinterpreted as Colonel Tusker in "Captain Britain," General Tubbs in "Jack Staff," Colonel Lilliput in "Top Ten" and was also killed off in "Zenith."


[Green Light]I was at the Birmingham International Comics Expo 2007 this weekend, but missed Friday night, left early on the Sunday, This is the price of being a Dad. Also, I helped man the Markosia stall for a good while, and was able to cold sell the new "Flying Friar" to all sorts of people.

It's held in quite a bizarre place, one of those Millennium buildings that were built in areas in need or renovation and then were never actually renovated anymore. This mansion of gleaming steel and glass surrounded by burnt out pubs and closed down greasy spoons. And you have to walk through a Science Museum to get in, which is also a genuinely novel experience as far as comic conventions go.

As usual, much of the fun is in the bars and it's a shame that there were no very-local ones to the venue (apart from the burnt down ones of course). Still, the hotels managed till 1 am Sunday morning, at which point they kicked everyone out over the road (till about 4 am), where Essad Ribic demonstrated his strongman tactics by lifting people above his head. The rest of the night is lost in a blur. Though I am reliably informed that DC editor Michael Wright (nice guy!) rocked the house the night before.

Al Davison was on fine form and gives me an excuse to plug his website. Any excuse to link to Al Davison's website. Wonderful comics artist, illustrator, human being, buy his stuff.

Tony Lee has sold his first story to "Judge Dredd Megazine," which means I can't mock him quite as much any more. Kev F is writing a "Bash Street Kids Zombie" edition for "The Beano." And John McShane was dragged down the stairs by his ankles by a fifteen year old girl. It was that kind of show.

And, yes, "Flying Friar" sold well, including one to Paul Cornell so he could justifiably remove himself from this Facebook group and it seemed to be one of the more talked about comics of the convention.

But there were some other wonderful highlights. "Space Babe 113" was one real stand out, a space sex comedy that uses a wonderfully distorted minimalist style to tell an erotic story with. Imagine Vaughn Bode drawing "Empowered," inked by a Mike Mignola who prefers white to black. Published by Soaring Penguin, I'd recommend it to all. Definitely my find of the weekend.

From the same publisher comes "From The Tomb," a magazine for horror and romance comics fans. It's a delicious treat with a wonderful original EC-style strip hidden inside as well as an illuminating Eric Powell interview.

Ilya had his second "Mammoth Book Of Best New Manga" there, the cover of which I have yet to crack, but with colour strips alongside black and white, it's one I'm desperate to delve into - and should be available everywhere.

The "Mental Health Sketchbook" is a very mysterious volume, and created using the work of all sorts of anonymous illustrators and artists, including some pages clearly by Frank Quitely and David Shrigley, to create a thick, impressive work of art. Good luck getting a copy.

Classical Comics have a new twist on Shakespeare comics, clearly aimed at schools, creating three separate editions of each play they adapt, the original dialogue, modern-translated dialogue and a quick read version of the text, which should be ideal for younger classes studying the plays. "Henry V" could have been a little more bloodthirsty for my inner schoolchild's liking though.

"Previously" is an anthology comic by 2000AD artist PJ Holden, collecting his earlier small press strips written with the likes of Gordon Rennie and Kieron Gillen. It gives a great narrative showing an artist finding his voice successfully, before it's bought and neutered by The Man.

"Eleventh Hour" from Orangutan Comics is a similar project by writer Peter Rogers, showcasing a number of his strips before he was picked up by Markosia, showing a very different artistic journey and a wide variety of artistic styles. I like this kind of thing. I might do one myself.

Birmingham also saw the release of Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood's "Hope Falls" from Markosia, a story about a ghost/angel/lost soul returned to avenge her murder. A familiar tale given depth an incredibly amount of backstory around the town and its inhabitants along with disarmingly enjoyable art.


[Green Light]Ten years ago, DC/Vertigo solicited a punk era sequel to the John Constantine mini-series "Sandman Presents: Love Street" by its writer Pete Hogan and artist Pete Doherty. Although completed and listed in Previews, "Marquee Moon" was never published. It would have featured the mother of the girl in the werewolf story from "Sandman" #38 in a 1970's punk band.

Ten years later, Hogan has made the scripts available to read online

Constantine meets The Clash


[Green Light]Dave Pruitt, prominent online John Byrne fan and creator of the John Byrne Message Board, seems to have quite fallen out of favour with the man in this now-deleted thread.

That invisible line sure is a hard one to dance across.


[Green Light]One of the more esoteric items wanted for every Alan Moore fan's collection is "Outbreaks Of Violets," an oversized hardback book designed by Rian Hughes, written by Alan Moore, illustrated by the greats and given free to VIP guests at an MTV Europe show in 1995 who didn't know what the hell it was and probably threw it away. It sells online for up to £1000.

And, after Knockabout recently republished a collection of Rian Hughes' work, and selling out of their new "From Hell" hardcover, Knockabout are in talks to reprint "Outbreaks" as well.


[Green Light]"Nevermore" by Ian Edginton & D'Israeli lauches on October the 31st, with a signing at Gosh Comics London on November the 1st the evening.

Jamie McKelvie is signing copies of "Surburban Glamour" on October 18th at Forbidden Planet London from 5.45pm. And we'll all be in The Ship on Wardour Street afterwards.

I'm sure other people are signing other comics in other countries and cities as well.


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

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