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.

HE WHO DARES -- Updated 12:00 Midnight

[Yellow Light]When asked about his dream comics project, Garth Ennis mentioned Johnny Red, more War Stories and that he "wouldn't mind a crack at Dan Dare."

I understand that Garth Ennis will be getting his crack on a new comicbook revival of "Dan Dare."

That sound was several thousand people's heads exploding with joy. We'll be hearing it again later.

That would be a wonderful opportunity for someone to reissue Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes' take on the character "Dare." I think Fantagraphics had the rights at one point.

UPDATE: Looks like "Dare" is included in the Rian Hughes collection "Yesterday's Tomorrows" in the new "Previews" catalog from Knockabout.


[Green Light]Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis have dropped non-too-subtle hints that the last page of "New Avengers" #31 will have universe-changing implications for the Marvel Universe.

Now, I'd hate to drop spoilers for something Marvel have been building up for so long. But I'm told by a good source that this issue will be the start of the events that make up the 2008 mega-Marvel crossover thing.

As far as I can tell, there's no way certain retailers will have ordered enough copies. This isn't a "Captain America" #25 moment; it's more of a "Civil War" #1. So if you want a copy, either reserve it, camp out, or wait and see how much Wizard are selling them for on eBay.


[Green Light]I understand that "Wisdom" author (you know, "Wisdom," the best current Marvel book that nobody bought?), "Doctor Who" Hugo nominee (and writer of the tip top "Human Nature" episode that just aired and the "Family Of Blood" episode airing next week), "Robin Hood" writer (he of the "I shot the sherriff" "No, you shot the deputy" line) and newly-appointed contributor to "Primeval's" second series (the cliffhanger episode of which did the kind of time travel logic that you wish "Doctor Who" would do and on that topic when will New Who get round to adapting Steven Moffat's "Continuity Errors" anyway?) Paul Cornell (see, I knew we'd get here eventually, I wonder what the rumour is, it had better be good after this build up, now where did I put my cheese?) is the new writer on Marvel Comics' "Excalibur".

And there's that sound again.


[Yellow Light]I understand that Kurt Busiek will be writing the "Final Crisis" series that will follow on from the current "Countdown" series. And remember, Busiek always wins!

I may understand wrong of course. But that's what I'm told and I'm sticking with it.

Until I'm proven wrong.

Why can't you have your cake and eat it?


[Green Light]Not sure how long it will take to they fix this but… we're all aware of the year long solicitation delay for League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier.

Well, the DC site currently has the book up as "On Sale October 24, 2007".

Which would be fine and dandy if on the same page, one paragraph up, it reads "Don't miss what's sure to be one of the most talked-about books of 2006!"


[Green Light]I understand there are some VIP tickets remaining for the End Of Strangers In Paradise shindig being held with the CBLDF.

Held in New York on May 31st, all attendees will receive a full color 11 x 17 commemorative print signed by Terry Moore. Those with VIP tickets will enjoy an open bar at the pre-party reception and a signed, remarked version of the print; a limited edition commemorative t-shirt from Graphitti Designs; a SiP cloisonne pin, and one of the extremely rare Retailer Incentive variant cover copies of the final issue of SiP -- a week before its distributed by Diamond.

Now, naturally, not everyone interested would be able to make it to New York. Of course, if you get a VIP ticket and can't make it, the CBLDF will send you your goodie bag anyway. Which you can, if you wish, stick straight up on eBay.

Not that I'd suggest anyone should do such a thing. But there will only be 50 VIP goodie bags out there, and odds are most people will want to keep theirs...

Okay, you won't get the open bar. But still. For more info go here.


[Green Light]This week, the "Casanova" collection shipped from Image. But rather than stores receiving the trade, they found themselves with a hardcover, almost twice as expensive. And a note in Diamond Dateline announcing the change seemed to pass most retailers by.

However, it also seemed to pass a fair number of customers by as well, who seemed as ready to buy the hardcover as they would the trade. So I've received a number of emails from retailers, and the common thread is that they're annoyed with Image not publicising the change sufficiently but dammit, if they haven't sold as much or more as they were expecting to, and have made mucho extra dollars as a result.

You can cut the ambivalence with a knife.


[Green Light]A while ago, I wrote for a London stage show called "The Sitcom Trials." The idea was that the show would put on the first halves of a number of sitcoms and the audience would vote for the final half of their choice. It even made it onto the telly, well, late night regional ITV, but it still counts.

And now, the scenario devisor, Kev F Sutherland, better known as the rescuer of the British comic convention and a current artist for The Beano, has put a few of them on YouTube. Including my own "Perfect Ten."

So please, feel free to revisit my youth... Part One and the winning Part Two.

It never went any further. I don't think any of them did. But it was an awful lot of fun. And it did have a plotline involving photographs of a senior Labour party figure naked on a rocking horse.


[Green Light]LITG used to be the master of bizarre sexual imagery in comics and comic related fields. Who can forget the Emma Frost camel toe statue, the nipple clamped Catwoman, Frank Cho's Sheena original art or the Engineer's original metallic nippleage? But these days

the blogosphere has pretty much made that topicits own, able to find the appropriate image, raise a righteous mob, suffered a backlash against prudery, created parodies and parodies of the parodies before LITG has even managed to stop writing a piece on why Alan Moore is just so swell. It's the advantage of an always-updatable blog over a stuck in the mud, once a week, and late if there's an American holiday (sorry) gossip column. If it wasn't the fact that LITG stomps over everything else in terms of unique readers I'd cry, I really would. I'm just surprised I got that Iron Man nip slip before everyone else, they must have all been reading Scott Pilgrim that week or something.

But occasionally, just occasionally, a crumb slips though, an aspect of a widely covered story that hasn't been picked up on yet. And thankfully it involved the kind of geeky nerdery that LITG has got bucketfuls of.

So, the "tentacle rape" cover of "Heroes For Hire" by Sana Takeda, a Japanese female painter, that we've all been reading about.

Joe Quesada, on Friday, amply justified it by saying "First, I think people are reading way too much into that cover than was ever intended. I heard terms such as 'tentacle rape' being thrown around when that in no way is what's happening, nor does it happen in the book. Those tentacles are the arms of the Brood who appears in the issue and is a major story point, the Brood have tentacles, sorry about that."

You can read the rest in the interview, but as I recall, the tentacles of the Brood, along with their stingers, are used to implant other races with their eggs, their stolen-from-Alien method of reproduction. The eggs then hatch and take over the host organism. Needless to say without the host's consent.

So, quite literally, the Brood do indeed rape their victims with their tentacles.

I asked my fellow New York Comic Con panellist, CB Cebulski what his take was, since he's worked with Sana before. "The artist of the 'Heroes for Hire' cover, Sana Takeda, is not a hentai, porn or yaoi artist as has been started elsewhere. She is a work-for-hire game designer and illustrator in Japan who works across all kinds of mediums and genres, but never the sexual ones she has been associated with since this whole thing blew up. She paints what her clients request and all she thought she was doing here was a cover of the Brood capturing the Heroes For Hire, who later break out and kick their asses.

"Also, to put an end to this speculation, Marvel did not hire Sana for this cover because she was Japanese or because they wanted a hentai cover. Sana has worked at Marvel before on 'X-Men: Fairy Tales.' She's currently doing 'Drain' with me at Image and doing a creator-owned book can be taxing on any artist. So, as she's all the way in Tokyo and doesn't speak English, she asked me if there was any cover work in the U.S. market for her to spread her wings on and make a little extra cash. I reached out to a number of people in the industry on her behalf, Marvel included. And seeing her new work, Marvel was the first company to show interest back. She was hired for that 'Heroes for Hire' cover not even knowing what it was yet.

"Sana is the sweetest, shyest, quietest person you will ever meet. She's a talented illustrator trying to make a living. Yes, she does a book about vampires that has lesbian overtones in it, but she didn't put that in there... the writer did.

"You can check out more of her work at http://www.sanatakeda.or.tv/

No chance of New Mutant yaoi then…


[Green Light]What's wrong with an IMAX Batman film?

Hey Rick Olney's Mighty Minicon website has disappeared a few weeks before his purported convention was scheduled to happen (even though a venue hadn't been announced). Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke.

I feel quite proud in a way - it was LITG that started the current ball rolling when the column first reported Olney's lack of payment to creators. Olney's response at the time was enough to rouse the wrath of a number of comic pros, and his subsequent behaviour has brought the weight of fandom down upon him. You should all be proud, too.


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

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Or call me/text me on 0780 1350982 from the UK or 01144780 1350982 from the US.

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