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 twelve 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.


"Heck from the cover alone you would have figured it out and when do you think Rich Johnston would have had it exactly? The boy is good, what can I say" - Joe Quesada

"Never seen you looking so oblong as you did tonight, never seen an angle so right, you were... a table.." - Table Of Reds, Mitchell, Webb and Chris De Burgh, Comic Relief 2007.


[Green Light]Went to the UK premiere of "300" last week, courtesy of Warner Bros.

And a rather fun film it is too. I mean, yes to the Xbox cut scenes, yes to the fascist overtones, yes to the feeling of "where's my nearest recruiting officer, I wish to sign up" as the end credits role, yes to the pornography of violence, yes to the straight Spartans vs the gay Persians, yes to …

It had the kind of fun I haven't seen in historical epics since Brian Blessed last shouted them. And never had a rhino seemed quite so mystical and alien. Definitely worth seeing in the cinema, and boy were the Warners people I spoke to afterwards shocked at the over-twice-what-was-expected box office takings. Look for Frank Miller's Etch-A-Sketch near you, summer 2009.

I met up with Film Ick's Brendon Connelly at the aftershow party at Sketch, and he managed to get some words from director Zack Snyder about "Watchmen."

I also had words with Warner and "300" about "Give Me Liberty" - by the authors of "300" and Watchmen. Some people seemed surprised they hadn't heard about the project before.

Once thing was very weird, Sketch was all done up with "300" livery, but one of the mainstay pieces of art there is lots of dolls and toys stuck together in a shape of a tree - really reminiscent of the scene where Persians raze a city and nail everyone up.

And Lena Headey was a pig, really wolfing down those lamb satay kebabs. I do hope Sketch's egg shaped toilet booths were up to the task.

Those egg shaped toilets did provide refuge for those heavily emotionally affeced by the film, as I heard a lot of sniffing coming from one of them.


[Green Light]Last week's article on whether or not Wizard let the chinese walls between the magazine and the online sales part of the company down continues to roll.

Especially since, after last weeks column went to air, Wizard cancelled every one of their ongoing eBay auctions for the "Captain America" #25 first print. And there were hundreds of them!

Here are just a few examples

The demand for "Captain America" #25 still continues, though not as much as last week (I do hope you sold them for $25 or more each when I told you to), to the extent that one downtown New York shop saw the owners selling issues for $12 each on Wednesday, straight out of the new Diamond shipment box.

Remember, more copies, and a second print on the way...


[Green Light]With the successful release of "300" and the upcoming release of "TMNT" later this month, there is no doubt that Warner Bros. is enthused about comic book adaptations -just not DC's for 2007.

So how about next year?

This is an image from the upcoming Captain Marvel cartoon for WB a piece by Udon Studios' Jim Zubkavich posted here for fun.

2008 is going to be all Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel. DC will be pushing the character with the animated series and toys. Mary Marvel will have a starring role in "Countdown." The Jeff Smith series will get a huge promotional push when it's collected, and is just the first of a number of Captain Marvel projects with large appeal. Warner believes it can create a movie franchise based on the character, but in order to do so, they've got to get people talking the character up...

Shame they can never actually use the name of the character in projects, or the advertising of such...


[Green Light]Remember that "Black Summer" series from Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp I've been talking about in LITG? The one with a superhero killing the President? Well, the politicians are talking about it now...

For more on the series, check out this interview with Ellis.


[Green Light]What does Pat Lee's artwork look like these days without a background artist helping him?

Ouch. The insides, and the other covers, are much nicer. Promise.

Lee is currently working in the movie industry in Thailand, with his partner Kaos, who won this award. Sounds like a perfect match.


[Green Light]I understand that Diamond has prevented online stores from participating in FCBD as full partners since its inception. Excluded from being listed on the official FCBD site or sharing in any other promotional efforts. Which does seem a little bricks-and-mortar protectionist and contrary to one of the stated goals of the event, bringing comics to a wider audience. Because there's no real audience quite as wide as the internet. And it's a lot easier to go to a website than step through a comic shop door...

This year, however, Diamond has taken a further step, banning online retailers from even buying the FCBD books at all. They can't use them to attract new customers and can't even give them to their existing customers to generate interest in other titles.

Is this a protectionist step too far?

One online retailer tells me that they're trying to circumvent Diamond and going to the publishers directly, even those with exclusive Diamond deals, but it's not easy. The publishers seem unaware of the policy.


[Green Light]LITG talked about the return of "The Sleeze Brothers" a few weeks ago. Well, it's now all official. The greatest Marvel UK/Epic creation of all time is being reissued through Comicraft and Image later this year, recoloured, relettered, remixed and repackaged. They will also be selling T-shirts, figures, caps and 'inflatey-friends0 of the main characters. There are 13 twenty-two minute episodes of an animated cartoon being produced and a cross-platform computer/console game for sale next year.

So is 2008 the year of Captain Marvel or of the Sleeze?


[Green Light]Stewart Lee tells me, regarding his Thor TV sitcom pilot, mentioned a couple of weeks ago, "It won't be like the comics Thor, although obviously my interest in so many branches of myth and lit was kickstarted by reading comics as a kid. What I am interested in is the Father/son relationship, as in Steptoe and Son and Porridge too. Odin is immortal (-ish). So is Thor. The son will never replace the father. What a fantastic metaphor for my own relationship with my own late fater, or for any son's relationship with a father. There will be as few Fantasy-ish elements in the script as possible. What I am interested in is inter-generational arguing. Tony Law, a comedian and viking enthusiast, will be working as a script consultant."


[Yellow Light]The complaints about ComixPress payments continue, specifically from people at Ronin Studios. No communication, no payments and a new site design that doesn't work. I understand a few creators are moving to Ka Blam in desperation...


[Green Light]"Detective Comics" #829:

He's Robin, not Swallow..


[Green Light]Okay, they haven't done a comic book for Comic Relief since the splendid Richard Curtis/Neil Gaiman/Grant Morrison/Alan Moore/Everyone creation ten years ago. But Comic Relief 2007 happened on Friday, and here were some of my favourite bits. Like what you see, donate here:

"I Would Roll 500 Miles" by Peter Kay, Little Britain and The Proclaimers watched by the entirety of 1970s/80s light entertainment stars. Catherine Tate meets David Tennant, Daniel Craig, Noel Edmonds and a mind-boggling turn by Tony Blair andRicky Gervais and Stephen Merchant create the best appeal ever...

No Mitchell And Webb "Table Of Reds" on YouTube yet... but it won't be long.


When prisoners write to comicbooks.

Check out 2D, the new Northern Ireland comic book festival on April 19th-21st at the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry/Londonderry..

Warning to anyone receiving email from a johnbyrne@gmail.com, linking to the Byrne Forum - he is a fake. As lines such as "I'm no bigot, but can you tone down the Jewness between you and Bendis when you guys talk? You're killing me here with the Jewness." should testify. IP address of if anyone wants to investigate further.


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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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