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LYING IN THE MANGER VOLUME 2 COLUMN 84

Ho Ho Ho! And welcome to a very special Christmas edition of Lying In The Gutters on Christmas Day!

Whether wrestling with the remnants of a turkey, watching the Queen spout the usual government-approved niceties, putting some porn on the DVD for all the family to gather round to watch or starting a war on next year’s Christmas, everyone chooses to celebrate the festive season in their own way. You, however, have decided to crank up the steam powered interweb to see which comic creators are picking a snowball fight with whom, whether there’s a publisher playing the Scrooge, or if an artist has been caught swiping the last mince pie…

Me, I wrote this on Saturday and made Jonah interrupt his own family occasion to press the “go” button, so I’ll probably be at church, cooking up a storm, falling asleep, watching “Doctor Who” or persuading everyone that playing “Zelda: Twilight Princess” is what Christmas is all about, actually.

So, on with the stories…

HARRY POTTER COMIC

[Red Light]

Okay, I’m not sure how much faith to put in this, the source isn’t exactly the strongest one, but I’ve run weaker stories before. Though some may debate that.

I’m told that a UK comics publisher will be publishing a Harry Potter comic book strip to run between the 6th and 7th book. It’s meant to look like an old Tiger-style comic book and it will be published a month before the 7th novel.

If so, that’s the biggest selling comic of 2007 already in the bag.

If it is indeed so.

CHYANNA OF SUPERHEROES

[Green Light]

One of my fave comic creators, Chynna Clugston writes in her blog that she’s working on a new upcoming Legion Of Superheroes series based on the cartoon, which she refers to as “Legion Animated.”

CONSPIRACY FAIRY

[Yellow Light]

Dan Didio, in his Newsarama interview last week: “Everyone’s looking for a deep conspiracy theory about why Marvel and DC don’t do crossovers anymore, and there really isn’t one. They just don’t make sense. If Marvel and DC are doing crossovers as a large part of their output and endeavors, then we’re both failing, because we’re not driving people to our own characters and our own stories. We’re just out of ideas.”

But back in Chicago in 2004, DC representatives had a different view on the proposed “Batman/Daredevil” by Brian Bendis crossover that Dan DiDio touched on: “The impression I have is that we expressed an interest in it, and that Brian would be involved… and we’ll do it, as soon as Joe (Quesada) is not at Marvel anymore… We’re down to one person we want to see gone from Marvel, there used to be two… If you could speed up getting him out the door…”

OK, maybe the thinking has changed since 2004, though it doesn’t bring us any closer to a DC/Marvel cross-over.

BASHING THE BISHOP

[Yellow Light]

What do Marvel want for Christmas? Probably not UK tabloids reporting that a man initially suspected of killing several women in and around Ipswich in the run up to Christmas, named himself after the X-Men character Bishop on his MySpace page. Leading to the Sun headline, “Suspect Has X-Men Alter-Ego,” with the Star explaining “a superhero cartoon character in the X-Men books… Bishop, a mutant cop and loner, absorbs energy then release it through his hands. In the books, he gets romantically linked with Deathbird, but later kills her when she turns on him.” Accompanied with a nice piece of art of the character…

PEYER POWER

[Green Light]

I understand that Tom Peyer and John Layman (one an “Authority” writer, the other an “Authority” editor) will write the Stephen Colbert comic book, “Tek Jansen” for Oni Press later in the year.

OEMING PIGEON

[Green Light]

There’s been a little bit of a hoo ha on the Bendis boards after writer/artist Michael Oeming revealed that he was originally lined up to write the “White Tiger” series from Marvel before it was pulled and given to Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe. He wrote, “I was originally set to write this series. With my wife and inlaws being PR and from the Bronx, I was really excited, but it was pulled from me and given to whomever is writing it now. I understand they are novelists and Marvel needed an assignment for them. Too bad, I was loving it too. This goes back a ways so I’m not upset over it anymore, but I’ve also never mentioned this in public before.” But as to criticism offered regarding the first issue’s use of hispanic culture, language, dialogue and character, he concludes “I agree with you on every point.”

Co-writer Tamora Pierce defended her work saying, “Dude, we are sorry. We didn’t know anyone else had been working on it, or we would have said we didn’t want to steal someone else’s project.

“We would have offended even more people if we’d tried to place it in one of the boroughs, because we know zilch about them, and we wanted to keep Angela close to DD at first” and continuing to answer other points.

Only for Mike to run to her aid, stating, “T! Nice to hear from you! Don’t sweat it, you would have had no idea. In fact my editor at the time didn’t know either, she was simply told to put the brakes on the project and didn’t know why. Marvels a big company (that I love) but its still a big company and projects go from one place to another and change and shift in dramatic ways all the time. Nothing to be sorry about.

“Also, don’t bother defending anything you do to comics people, it usually only makes things worse. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. I’ll often explain why I did something, but I keep it short and simple because it usually just goes into circles. I find it’s best to simply take what is said politely, don’t get defensive.

“As long as you’re having fun and enjoy what you do, that’s what’s important!”

See? Ended with hugs all round.

RING ROUND

[Green Light]

So, you want to be a Green Lantern? A recent casting call in Los Angeles couldn’t make it more obvious. For a pilot for a new TV series, “The Corps.”

John Stewart — (african american male, age 24-27). A SGT in the Marine Corps and just coming back from a trying tour in Iraq. Lead role.

Katma Tui — (asian or caucasian female, 25-30). A very attractive and sexy, yet militant operative and lead trainer in The Corps. Must be athletic. Lead role.

Addie Stewart — (african american female, 45-50’s). John’s mother who is dying of cancer. supporting role.

Hal Jordan — (caucasian male, 27-35). Former Air force pilot who is injured in a battle with an unknown evil, while on his way to recruit John Stewart. Reoccurring role.

Tyler — (any ethnicity male, 24-27). Serial killer, works as a hired gun for a local crime boss.

Erin Towers — (any ethnicity male, 24-27). Former Marine, John’s friend from boot camp.

John Stewart the lead, Hal Jordan as supporting?

BITS AND PIECES

[Green Light]

As some of you know, it’s been a tough Christmas week, chez Johnston. We went for a prenatal scan at the hospital on Wednesday to discover that our baby died a few weeks ago, and Janice had to go through an evacuation the next day. Which has kinda put the blinkers on Christmas rather, but we do both have our gorgeous 22 month old to focus on. Had a rough few days, but with plenty to be thankful for, and are looking forward to 2007. Just a different 2007 than we had planned. Thanks for your support

You know how we mentioned Hanukah’s changing dates “One Year Later” last week? Well, it seems Superboy’s punch knocked two days off. Or that’s what you might presume from last week’s issue of “52,” featuring a menorah with places for only… seven candles.

A Christmas Present from RichAndMark.com.

PLAY OF THE YEAR: “Rock’N’Roll” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Trevor Nunn.

FILM OF THE YEAR: “Tideland,” directed by Terry Gilliam. Written by Mitch Grimm, Toni Grisoni and Terry Gilliam.

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR: “The State Within,” directed by Michael Offer and Daniel Percival, written by Lizzie Mickery and Daniel Percival.

PROSE BOOK OF THE YEAR: “Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness” by Jon Ronson.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: “Alright, Still by Lily Allen.

COMIC BOOK OF THE YEAR: “Acme Novelty Library 17 by Chris Ware

GRAPHIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR: What do you think? I mean, please, I talked enough about it. Seriously. Look I promised I wouldn’t mention it again this year. Come on.

GAME OF THE YEAR: “Zelda: Twilight Princess

NEXT WEEK: Yes, it’s the annual tradition you’ve all learnt to put up with in the safe knowledge that there’ll be one huge humongous story hidden within the depths, and I do mean depths, that are The Rumour Awards on New Years Day. You have been warned.

SMALL PRINT

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.

Visit my MySpace or my ComicSpace as I discuss next week’s column through the week. Maybe.

Check whatever I’m selling on eBay … new stuff every week all the way up to Christmas.

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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