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.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I am GLAD this asshole is dead. Sorry for his wife and kids, but relieved they are in no further danger from his lunacy!" - John Byrne on the death of Steve Irwin.


[Yellow Light]There seems to be some kind of tie-up between Marvel Comics and Dabel Brothers Productions being announced tonight at the Baltimore Convention? Unless DC sneaked in with a counter-bid.

Marvel of late has done deals with Top Cow and DC with Aspen. But activity like this has been few and far between, certainly a different world to Marvel buying Welsh Comics, Malibu, Toy Biz, Heroes World and the like, or DC taking in Wildstorm lock stock and double barrels. Is this the re-emergence of the opportunity for studios to gain credence and high profile work from a new publisher and for publishers to get access to locked up talent and already-signed licensing contracts?


[Green Light]These are pages supplied to Pat Lee, as required, by Alex Milne. Milne is credited as supplying "breakdowns," when he is credited at all, for "Cyberforce."

I understand Top Cow pays Pat Lee around $300 CDN a page before royalties.

I understand Pat Lee pays Alex Milne a flat $75 CDN fee per page.

I understand Alex Milne no longer gets credit for his work for Pat Lee, not even as breakdown artist.

I understand Pat Lee has told Top Cow staff that this is all his own work.

There's a lot I don't understand.


[Green Light]eBay often finds the most curious sellers. Take Dar's Clothing & Nick Nack Rack. In amongst Men's Sweater Shirts and women's bras they were selling three valuable Golden Age Comics, "All Star Comics" #3, "Amazing Mystery Funnies (sic) v2 #12 and "Young Allies" #1. The seller added "WILL HAVE MORE IN THE NEAR FUTURE IF YOUR LOOKING FOR A SPECIFIC COMIC PLEASE EMAIL ME AND WILL TRY TO LOCATE ONE FOR YOU."

It's unknown where and how the seller obtained these items, but these were all items stolen from long time collector William Wells, and part of a large haul that a group of individuals had tried to sell to specific retailers. The seller declined to elaborate when contacted for comment, but the auctions were all ended early.

eBay has a number of security measures and channels to report stolen property online. When people spot it, that's it.


[Green Light]"The Truth" is the latest attempt by tobacco companies to let adults think that they're dissuading teenagers and children to smoke. To be fair, it's a lot more effective looking than those "Tobacco Is Whacko -- If You're A Teen" ads, and target the modern No Logo-style mistrust of corporations of the "yoot." Okay, they miss out the death statistics and the horrible injuries primary and secondary tobacco can and does cause, rather concentrating on exposing tobacco company marketing activities, but it's not the usual double bluff.

The ads they've been running in DC Comics of late are for the WHADAFXUP site, and encourage readers to ask "whatdafxup?" Isn't it odd for DC to allow ads with essentially adult language to run in non-mature readers DC Universe titles where that kind of language isn't allowed? Is this an example of how advertising standards differ from editorial standards? Interestingly, normally advertising standards are generally stricter than editorial standards

Of course, another question should be asked if the ads themselves are actually reaching their intended audience -- young adults. Much has been made in the last 10 years about the aging of the comics market, how fandom is primarily driven by an 18+ year old audience segment. A cursory glance at your local comic shop might seem to support that observation, but in more recent years, as the industry has been making its turn around, there's also been evidence in those very same comics shops of the young adults segment increasing. Unfortunately, it's impossible to say definitively either way as tragically there is little to no demographics information avaialble about comics readership, at least not publicly available. So, the better question may simply be whadafxup?


[Green Light]Quote from Steve Englehart's "JSA Classified" #16.

Gypsy: "I need more energy to rouse Vixen. So I'll steal it. It's what gypsies do!"

Nothing like some good prejudicial hatred to start the day. Looking forward to Black Lightning's "I'll rob the 7-11. That's what black men do", or Sandman's "I'll control the money supply amongst a tight knit elite. That's what Jews do!". Or possibly Batwoman's "I'll lead a man on, take his money, then tell him I don't find him attractive. That's what lesbians do!"

Any more for any more?


[Yellow Light]Brad Meltzer has recently been talking about his new thriller novel "The Book Of Fate," and also how he's been assisting the US government by creating ingenious fictitious terrorist plots for them to deal with.

Presumably not including leaving a sword for a speedster to run into (and not vibrate through, say). Or hoping a man with a the most powerful reality shaping weapon in the universe hovering above him will wait in turn to be approached before not using the weaponm but swinging a punch instead. Or remembering that the kidneys are at the back of the body, not the front.

Sorry, just picked up the "Identity Crisis" TPB this week.

Also the new issue of "Eternals." Loved the bit when a speedster encounters blue shift/red shift when moving at speed. Clever, intriguing, detailed and emotionally resonate piece of writing from Neil Gaiman there.

If only he'd got the red and the blue aspects the right way round. Probably fix it in the trade, like they did with Delirium's eyes.

Oh, and remember the reversion of policy on gay lead characters not having to have MAX labels slapped on them at Marvel? And how Freedom Ring who has been a kinda-lead character in "Marvel Team Up" was seen as a front runner for that policy reversal, indeed touted as much by Joe Quesada?

He's just been killed off by Robert Kirkman in a Crusader style conclusion. Way to go, Kirkman.

I am such a bitch today, it's untrue.


[Yellow Light]Kory from "52" #20 cover art by JG Jones.

And Elektra from the "Daredevil" movie poster.


[Green Light]An update on last week's report over the new Italian versions of the Superman comic, featuring Byrne's "Man Of Steel" series, with complaints concerning translation and production quality of the publisher's Spanish offices.

Publisher Planeta DeAgostini is going to reissue the comics in question with new corrected Italian translations and attach them to the future issues completely for free. Quite the class act.


[Green Light]Dietrich Smith is artist on DC's title, "Next," written by fantasy author, Tad Williams ("Tailchaser's Song," "Shadowmarc"). Is this some other attempt by a non-comics creator to invade our sphere then put out a project that gets terminally delayed? Nope, Dietrich finished the artwork a while ago, which gave him plenty of time to contribute "White Flight" to my upcoming parody comicbook, "Civil Wardrobe"

This will sit alongside "Brokeback Mutant" by Ilya, a wonderful British writer/artist behind "End Of The Century Club" and currently editing the "Mammoth Book Of Best New Manga," over 500 pages, out next month from Robinson for a mere £7.99. Already two of the contributors have signed major deals.

And Thomas Nachlik, artist on "The Flying Friar" currently being published in Italian, has stepped up to contribute "Frank Castle: Probation Officer" after Lea Hernandez had to step down. Lea's house recently burnt down, losing family pets and much of her art, and both her and her children's possessions. To find out how you can help, click here.

And the director of the upcoming video trailer for "Civil Wardrobe," Brendon Connelly is the first member of the general public to have their short film elevated to feature status at iKlipz. Enjoy, if you;ve never seen, John Vs Laura.

Orders are just shy of 2500, and publishers Brain Scan will be printing 3000. So if your shop didn't get any or runs out, they can still reorder!


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

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