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.

Spent a week in Weymouth, on the South Coast. Nice and relaxing. Eve loved the pebble beach. Best fried fish in the world from Bennets. Also rather awe inspiring to stand on pieces of artwork etched out in the hills hundreds of years ago. More on that later.


[Green Light]Pat Lee Productions is the new outfit headed by Pat Lee. He is currently looking for and recruiting new artistic talent to join his brand new venture, supplying comic book and comic-style artwork to publishers and licensors. Which sounds quite familiar.

If you know of anyone interested in joining the team, do encourage them to read past Lying In The Gutters columns.


[Yellow Light]The recent "syroco" Superman statue announcement had a few interesting choices of words.

Mike Richardson, it seems, had been trying to get DC to agree to such a deal on the statues for quite a while, without joy.

But Dark Horse has an exclusive deal with WETA, and WETA had a license for "Superman Returns" statues as part of their arrangement with Bryan Singer.

This caused potential problems, and WETA asked Dark Horse if they could agree to let DC Direct distribute the Superman Returns statues. Dark Horse agreed, and in return DC agreed to allow the syroco-style DC character statues to go ahead.

Isn't that sweet?


[Green Light]What happens when Scott Lobdell and John Nee team up.


[Green Light]The comedian David Baddiel once pointed out that, when someone says they are an insomniac, the response is often "Really? I go to sleep when my head hits the pillow." Which is about as insensitive as saying to a wheelchair user "Really? My legs work perfectly. Look, I can dance and everything. La da daaa daa, la da daa daa......"

Diamond Comics send out daily updates to retailers via e-mail as Diamond Daily, often collected up into the print version Diamond Dateline. On the 21st, one update to retailers featured the news "Kirkham's Phoenix Cover Launches Marvel/Top Cow Variant Series"

It transpired that Top Cow, as part of their agreement with Marvel, is publishing variant cover editions to certain titles, including "X-Men: Phoenix Warsong" using traditionally Top Cow-only artists and available to readers exclusively from Top Cow's online store. And not to retailers, the xtarget audience of the Diamond Daily.

Okay, I may have paraphrased that last bit too far. On the CBIA, Filip Sablik, the new VP of Marketing and Sales at Top Cow, wrote:

"The story in Diamond Daily was run in error by Diamond and as has been mentioned on the forum, it has now been removed from the website. We sent a press release out regarding this variant cover to let consumers know it was available through fan sites. It was never intended to be promoted by Diamond and to be honest I was just as surprised as you when I found out it had been run in Daily. It certainly wasn't intentional. Please accept my apology. We also regret not being able to offer this cover to retailers through Diamond at wholesale. In this particular case, Top Cow is buying these from Marvel at wholesale prices. We paid to have the cover artwork created and purchased these at a wholesale cost from Marvel, which unfortunately puts us in a position where we can't really offer them out at discount to retailers (as much as we'd like to). We had an opportunity to create a unique item on a popular Marvel series which we ultimately will help generate sales from Marvel fans for Top Cow titles in your store."

You can hear the screaming, can't you? An apology was emailed out the day after…


[Green Light]Andrew DelQuadro has been sent legal notice by Image Comics. His small clothing, design and publishing company, Philadelphia Image, LLC has been around for a while now, but has only recently branched out into comics - at which point he got a letter from Image's lawyers. And doesn't have the financial ability to fight back. To be fair, he probably doesn't have a leg to stand on here.

What's even more annoying for Andrew is that he only just had an image of Spawn, from the cover of issue #95, tattooed on his leg.

A quick chat with CBR's lawyers (see, they're not just for the nasty things in life) reveals that if Philadelphia Image, LLC plans to produce Philadelphia centric comics and/or comics primarily for the Philadelphia area, they may be in the clear. But if it's a wider audience they have in mind, then Image are obligated to proceed with legal action to protect their own trademark.

If you have any further advice for Andrew, aside from amputation or laser treatment, e-mail him here. Mine would be, "Change your name, mate."


[Green Light]"The Boys" from Wildstorm has been a rather aggressive book so far. Extreme gore, use of the c-word (that's 'cunt' by the way), extreme superhero hate, Simon Pegg, all that's missing is the sex.

I'm told that at San Diego months ago, Wildstorm staffers were talking up the completed art for "The Boys" #3, which featured a Teen Titans-esque team in an orgy complete with a rather explicit oral image…

"The Boys" #3 has just been delayed. I wonder why?


[Green Light]If you live in the US, then it should be fine. Comic stores got their full orders for the first print, have been allocated on the second, but the third print should mop a lot of them up. Basically, if there's a comic shop near you, they should order you a copy if you ask nicely and in some cases suggest they keep it under the counter.

For those that don't, there's online ordering, although that again has been problematic for some with certain online stores not being able to keep the bugger in long enough. A fourth printing looks like it will be needed.

As for Canada, the second printing should reach bookstores and comic shops, but some enterprising souls have shipped copies directly over the border.

As for Europe and the UK, well, yes there are copyright problems here. After corresponding with owners of Peter Pan copyright, The Great Ormonds Street Hospital, "Lost Girls" will not be distributed in the UK or Europe, in comic stores or bookshops, until an agreement is reached. "Peter Pan" enters the public domain in 2008 (although an act of Parliament ensures that Top Shelf will have to pay the GOSH a certain sum in the UK for the privilege of publishing the volume). If the stalemate continues until then, Top Shelf will publish a UK version in January 2008. For more on this and other "Lost Girls" related matters, see CBR's lengthy interview with Chris Staros.

Again, there are enterprising UK comic shops that have become used to getting around licensing agreements, and stock items only intended for the US or Japan, otherwise known as the "grey" market. I understand that there are measures being undertaken to ship copies across and sell them to customers who make enquiries. So, you know, make enquiries.

As for international internet ordering, some people have already found their orders cancelled while others have received their goods - it's not guaranteed. And it's going to make that Stewart Lee interview with Moore and Gebbie onstage next month rather interesting - considering there will be no, ahem, official copies available.

I spent some time at an old smugglers' cover near Weymouth. I expected to see a crate of "Lost Girls" washed up on the rocks, but to no avail.


[Green Light]Watch the horror as a comic blogger gatecrashes the dinner event at the Harvey Awards, steals somebody else's salad and chocolate pudding and makes off with multiple "Toon Tumblers."

Rich Chapell, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Of course, when me and a few friends hijacked the Fantagraphics table at the Eisners ten years ago, it was totally different.


[Green Light]The Brazilian edition of WIZARD magazine is changing its name to WIZZING COMICS after issue 36, because there's an English school that has, it seems, legally won the use of the name.


[Green Light]The Seventies

The Naughties


[Green Light]At Baltimore, while "X-Factor" artist Dennis Calero was selling prints of his cover to "Star Trek" #1 coming from IDW in January, he mentioned he was drawing a graphic novel written by Dean Motter and a horror book by Steve Niles.


[Green Light]After the continuing naming of Martian Manhunter villains (mostly) after Manchester United players by AJ Lieberman, Paul Jenkins writes to let me know that he likes to name his characters after Crystal Palace players. A detective in an upcoming "Civil War: Frontlines" issue is called Danny Granville.


[Green Light]I understand there are Italian ashcan editions of "The Flying Friar" doing the rounds. People in the Copertino area, where the graphic novella is set, wiped the publishers out during the recent "Nuvole di Carta sulle Quattro Colonne" comic convention.

"Il Frate Volante" will be published any day now.

Flying Friar gets slashdotted.

And Civil Wardrobe has gone to the printers...


[Green Light]The Osmington White Horse, near Weymouth, from 1808.

The White Horse of Uffington from 1000 BC or thereabouts.

Swipe! Swipe! Swipe!


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

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