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 thirteen long glorious and quite scary years.

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.


[Green Light]There's a new Johnston on its way, due in March. Right now, everything and everyone is healthy. This is good news, especially with what happened to us last Christmas.

Tentacles crossed. Sorry if the column is a little skew-whiff as a result this week.

I'll be attending the Birmingham comic convention in October, and the weekend after the shitty London con (which gets a couple of extras from Star Wars in a room and persuades people to pay £20 for their signatures) to promote "The Flying Friar." More on the oddness of that later.

And in November, I'll start running a series of poorly-recorded vodcasts ranting about comics and related stuff and called, appropriately enough, "All The Rage."


[Green Light]I understand there's a "Transformers/Terminator" comic book series on the way. Will it be Dynamite, will it be IDW?

Will it be as bad as "Transformers/Avengers?" No.


[Yellow Light]Jim Shooter on "Legion". On again, off again, on again.

But how smooth will it be?

In an interview posted at Valiant Comics from July of 1998, Shooter stated:

I called Paul Levitz (DC VP) about 2 weeks ago and I said "you know Paul, I've been thinking about this for a long time - I think I've got one more 'Legion' story left in me, so here's what I propose: I'll do it sort of like the 'Watchmen' - a long story that you can collect it into a book... 'Jim Shooter's last Legion story', set in the time period back when I used to write the Legion... I think I could do something good, I think it would be fun, so what do you think?" He said, "I want to read it," so I said what's the next step? He said, more or less, "It's a done deal. I'll call you Friday when I get back to the office (he was in San Francisco) to finalize it." He said, "Think about what reference (old Legion books, etc...) you need, because I know you don't have files of your old stuff." We both talked about how great it would have been if Curt Swan, who'd drawn some of my old stuff, were still alive to do it. Anyway, we agreed that we were going to do this, and that we'd work out the details on Friday. I said okay... but I want you to know Paul, there are some people you have working on your staff who don't like me, and they might not be happy with this. He said oh, there's a couple who will sulk in a corner for a while over it, but don't worry- I'll take care of it.

He didn't call me Friday, he called me the next Tuesday. He said "well, the scars are deeper than I thought. There was so much hatred and resistance and upset... I gotta keep peace in my house, I can't go through with this." I said "You know - like I said - I've thought about writing this story for years, and the reason I never called you before is because I knew this would happen. I don't even know why I called you now." This is what I'm up against; I can't get work. Am I such a bad writer that no one can use me?

From a Silver Bullet Comic Books interview posted in 2004, Shooter stated:

TH: What about the "last Legion story" you were rumoured to do?

JS: I proposed writing one last Legion of Super-Heroes story, a ten or twelve parter that would make nice trade book, to Paul Levitz. Paul agreed to do it. Then we talked a few days later and he told me that there were people at DC who hated me, and were up in arms at the thought of my doing any work there. Paul said it would be "more grief than either of us needed," and that was the end of that.

I also understand that Jim Shooter walked from a Marvel Comics project when Tom Brevoort gave him some editorial suggestions.

This all underscores how polarizing a figured Shooter still is in the comics industry. There are long-time employees at both major publishers who have long memories. At DC, apparently those who would rather not work with Shooter include high profile and long-time editors and executives. How the addition of Shooter to the DCU roster affects those internally is yet to be seen. Have things been smoothed over in the past year to make this project a reality, or is this just being pushed through despite any internal objections?

Another question is how will new fans react to Shooter's return to the title? While it's sure to be embraced by long-time fans of Legion, newer fans might not be as easy to get on board."


[Green Light]BBC's "Comics Britannia" starts tonight at 9pm on BBC4. Enjoy. The Guardian printed the following pages to begin its TV Guide on Saturday.

Isn't it lovely? And totally unsearchable through Google. And no one else has scanned it all in, so here it is online, exclusively...

Charlie Brooker reviews the show here.

It was a similar affair with the news that Mark Millar is trying to get the little cinema in the small Scottish town of Coatbridge to host the world premiere of "Wanted." Originally printed in the tiny publication Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser which isn't on Google News, it was picked up nationally by The Star and in London by Metro.

Neither paper printed the story on their website, so no comics journalist or blogger picked it up, save CBR when I pushed it at them.

The internet is making us lazy.

(Thanks to Millarworlder Bob Mitchell for the scans… hang on, that's the same name as the guy who wrote the initial piece… and this one as well… conspiracy!)


[Green Light]Gutterati "Rob Roy's Assistant" emails me to show me comic pages by Rob Liefeld from when he was at junior high school, sold a few years ago on eBay.

Intriguingly, the central influence wasn't Mike Golden, Art Adams or Todd McFarlane but…

Fred Hembeck! The Gutterati even got Fred to "remake" the cover.


[Green Light]The Gary Groth/Harlan Ellison fight has picked up nicely again.

Amongst other things, the agreement between the parties coming out of Ellison's libel suit against Groth, state that they will cease ad hominem attacks upon the other. And that Ellison will print Groth's rebuttal to allegations and comparisons made concerning Gary Groth on his website.

Except Ellison didn't do so in the time agreed and Fantagraphics posted it on their site instead, also against the agreement. And guess what, there were a couple of ad hominem remarks embedded in there.

Ellison's counsel posted a reply, with a few similar remarks.

One note struck me,that Carmichael states, "at the time Mr. Groth's objections to the two statements were made known to Ellison, Ellison took steps to investigate, correct, retract and even apologize for any inaccuracy." Questioned further, Carmichael told me, "Mr. Ellison... stated that if his information was incorrect, he apologized" which was hardly the same thing.

It's like two dogs with a stick.


[Green Light]Are you a member of Club 321. It's a very exclusive club, with select membership in North America and Europe.

Why, do you ask? Well, 321 is the number of copies ordered in advance by retailers for "The Flying Friar" In Color. 244 in the US, 77 in the UK.


No, really, ouch.

Now, I know there's been some frantic reordering going on, and Diamond UK have been in touch about upping orders, but realistically, if you want a copy of "The Flying Friar" In Color, tell your retailer now. It goes to print very shortly, with, to be fair, a fair sized overprint in terms of percentage of orders, but not really in terms of actual numbers. I'm just glad Markosia still seem keen to publish it, apparently there's going to be much larger demand for the bookstore version.

The original "The Flying Friar" sold around two and a half thousand in black and white with Speakeasy, but it sold out. Went to reorder, backorder and then the company folded. The book has been out of print and in demand ever since, and I've been able to sell a few of my comp copies for silly money. The second the full color version hits those shelves, at such low orders, there's going to be an instant sellout.

To be honest, I'd be happy with a print run of ten. One for my bookshelf, one for colourist Ian Sharman, editor Tom Mauer, artist Thomas Nachlik, cover artist Thorsten Ebert and publisher Harry Markos and the other four to send to Hollywood studios (well, why not?). But selling more than 421 would be good as well. So anyway. Consider this a limited variant colour edition and grab yours.

If you want to increase the advance order to 322, go to your local retailer with this code: AUG073845, ask for a copy and join this Facebook Group. I understand the book is due to ship the second week of October. Right now it is going to be an honest-to-goodness rare collectible.



[Green Light]Gail Simone joined the group Everybody Hates Aquaman.

Andy Diggle is getting some fancy-schmancy new glasses.

Jamie McKelvie and Marcia Allass wrote on Kelly-Sue DeConnick's wall.


[Green Light]David Hine has been totally mangaslutting himself out of late. And TokyoPop are making sure everyone knows. Read samples of chapters of his "Poison Candy." And not by Hine, but rather good anyway, is "MBQ."

You know, the amount they put up as previews when you sign up is quite astounding.


[Green Light]No one is yet talking on the record about the DB Pro issues. It looks like they're waiting to see how last week's e-mail offer pans out.

First there's a fairly entertaining and quite convincing Pat Lee imposter.

I may have misrepresented the charity Unscrewed last week… rather than raising money to pay for screwed-over creators, their aim is to offer assistance to people who have been cheated and are in dire circumstances as a result. It's a source of information, support and assistance, not just money.

Because they can't actually afford to pay back everyone owed by TightLip, Dreamwave, Dream Engine, DB Pro etc. They can help pay for emergency bills, or file a lawsuit in a small claims court. But their mission is primarily preventative.

So, there.


[Green Light]Black Superman immortalised.


[Green Light]Wonder Woman charity piece from 2006 by Adam Hughes

"Dark Xena" from 2007 by a lightbox.


[Red Light]After the DC had sexually prominent covers amended, some wondered if the same would happen at Marvel over "Heroes For Hire."


However, looks like the BBC were paying attention!


[Green Light]After last week's snark at Grant Morrison having a character describe Gibraltar as an island, now we discover he thinks five-a-side football is played with a rugby ball… take it away, JH Williams:

"if i'm not mistaken i believe that grant specified a rugby ball. my google search produced what i drew. i too thought it looked too much like an 'american' football. as far as the lingo grant uses for the game reference...i wouldn't have had the idea that it was the wrong kind of ball he asked for. not very versed in european sports myself."

Maybe… it just got squashed. By Granny Goodness. Yes, that's it.


The Joker putting on his make up.

Michael Gondry's storyboards...

Glass House gets puff-pieced ...


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 MySpace, ComicSpace and Twitter, too.

The remnants of my life are on eBay.

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.

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