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.


[Red Light]I was walking through Piccadilly Circus at about 1.30pm on Thursday night.

That's where the car bomb that didn't explode was.

I survived a non-exploding car bomb.

This is the third time terrorists have tried to blow me up and failed. Where's my medal?


[Yellow Light]I'm told Mark Waid is only writing four issues of the Flash series. Possibly before taking over some nice big fat exec role at DC.


[Green Light]Charlie Adlard ("The Walking Dead") has signed for a new series with Soliel. It's called "Le Souffle du Wendigo." Yup, that's Wendigo's Souffle. I do hope he rises to the occasion.

Preparatory sketches here:

Don't worry "Walking Dead" fans, this won't interfere with Charlie's schedule. Not if Robert Kirkman has anything to say about it.


[Green Light]Titan Comics in the UK are adding to their Batman and Superman monthly newsstand comics with "Justice League Legends." Priced a third above the price of a US newsstand comic, like the other titles, it will contain two or three US issues worth of content, in a card cover. The first issue has Brad Meltzer's "JLA" #1 and Alex Ross' "Justice" #1, with Geoff John's "Green Lantern" starting in the second issue, as well as further feature articles on the Justice League.

Americans, begin your moaning - now.


[Green Light]Told you it would get media coverage.

One little tweak is that the early Associates Press release had the funeral of Captain America taking place in the "latest issue of Marvel Comics" rather than the "latest issue of Marvel Comics' "Fallen Son"' which it was later amended to. So, about half the reports went with the former. Shouldn't be too much for a comic shop to handle, but it does throw up problems with certain titles and labelling issues that the comics industry takes for granted.

As promised, a DEFCOM-style list of upcoming publicity information, that any publisher can happily use to promote an upcoming event. DEFCOMIC. HA, like that? I do. Look this is a really slow week for me, I have to get them where I can.

DEFCOMIC 1. Insane media obsession. DEATH OF SUPERMAN.

DEFCOMIC 2. Mass coverage, even on a busy news day: DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA.

DEFCOMIC 3. Mass coverage, on a slow news day UNMASKING OF SPIDER-MAN.

DEFCOMIC 4. Spotlight coverage that gets everywhere GAY BATWOMAN, GAY AUTHORITY.

DEFCOMIC 5. Spotlight coverage that gets lots of places CAPTAIN AMERICA FUNERAL

DEFCOMIC 6. Inconsidered kneejerk feature articles LOST GIRLS, BISHOP.

DEFCOMIC 7. Considered featured articles ALICE IN SUNDERLAND, PERSEPOLIS.

DEFCOMIC 8. Mention in a prominent media feature - 2000AD (B.L.A.I.R. ONE)

DEFCOMIC 9. Appearance in the background of other media - MILK AND CHEESE, DEATH, FLASH.

DEFCOMIC 10. Slow news day, page 12 of the Times newspaper - FLYING FRIAR.


[Green Light]This week, everyone's talking about digital downloading. Well, I am anyway.

It came to a head for me this week. We're getting our floors redone, so the bookshelves have to move. Which means they have to be emptied. This was what was in the two bookshelves in my study.

It's just too much. And this is what is stopping me from buying so many more new comics that otherwise I would. I get rid of stuff all the time, hence the plaintive pleas to check my eBay listings I often append to this column. I often take trips to the local charity shops. They don't want any more now. And there's still way too much physical property.

I have money to buy new comics, I just don't have the space. Comics industry, I am not alone. Indeed, most creators tell me they download illegally just so they can get research for their work and keep up with the industry without filling their apartments.

You know how relieved I was when Top Shelf sent me a disc full of comics instead of a box full?

Now I don't like illegal downloading, though I have done it occasionally. So my solution is I don't buy what I'd like to read and spend the money on things like, well, new flooring for a start. If there was a better solution out there, then I'd happily make do with the old carpet.

Right now we are in the middle of the biggest comics industry boom we've ever seen. The movies have created a whole new audience for superhero properties, and an adult audience at that. But the cost and inconvenience of buying comics in the modern age has sent people to illegal downloads. 24 hours after Diamond ships comics to stores, they are available illegally and there's nothing the publishers can do about it.

The modern audience is gradually learning to read on screen. For kids it's second nature and the preferred medium.

So, publishers, please just make your comics available digitally, legally, for a fee. You could do it next week if you so wished. If you're worried about the comics you release digitally being pirated, well, yes. They already are. Hell, the First Look titles that get sent to retailers are torrented a week before the actual comics are published. And remember, published comics do not have any form of Digital Rights Management. It's a way of getting some money from the practice instead of no money.

"The Flying Friar" can be downloaded, for cover price, at www.richjohnston.com.

Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Oni, Top Shelf, follow suit.


[Green Light]Oscar Jimenez is off Marvel MAX's "Foolkiller" project, replaced by Lan Medina, that's not news.

What is news is that Lan's work, from the same script as Oscar worked from, looks remarkably, well, similar. I wouldn't say lightboxed, but the layouts and composition bear more or a resemblance than simply using the same script would imply. See what you think.

I do hope Oscar gets breakdown credits for work used.

SURREAL PAT LEE - Updated 7/4 11:15 PM

[Green Light]This is how Alex Milne is signing his work now...

Is that like "Real Coke" and "Real Life?"

UPDATE: I have been informed that the signature was at the signee's request - it's not like Alex goes around signing this every time. Shame.


[Red Light]From Midtown Comics website, a listing for "Combat Zone True Tales Of GIs In Iraq Vol 1 TP." All well and good, but did they have to use the cover of the "Losers: Unamerica" trade paperback to illustrate it? What are they trying to say?

Countdown to when it gets changed starts... now!

Thanks to Ben at TheDailyNow.com


[Green Light]Fraga rocks!

CB Cebulski's talent search kicks off.

Cap and Thor get writers. Thor can't be any worse than Stan's proposed movie.


[Yellow Light]The Doctor

Dobby The House Elf


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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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