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: "Im a 6 foot 2 inch country boy from the south. You'd get stomped. Sean Penn style." - Tony Harris.


[Green Light]Right then.

It appears, despite the article below, a number of London shops are participating in FCBD after all, they just haven't ordered the "correct" number of certain books to be considered an official participant by Diamond. And to be fair, after seeing some of the books, that's not surprising. Orbital and They Walk Among Us are just two shops that contacted me about this. So I will get my "Free Scott Pilgrim" after all!

Also, on the same day that "Infinite Crisis" #7 ships alongside "Civil War" #1, so does "Rich Johnston's Holed Up" #3. Great...

Issue #3 has a much-needed recap of the last two issues on the first page. On the second page, the Holed family bomb a mosque in Mecca.

Lets see comic causes more fuss, hmm?


[Green Light]This Wednesday/Thursday "Infinite Crisis" ends with #7. And "Civil War" begins with #1. And on Saturday it's Free Comic Book Day.

Have you started queuing to get into your local comic shop this weekend?

Well, if you're in the UK you should survive. Especially in London, given that even with its many comic shops, not one is participating with Free Comic Book Day. It's a lot harder to run a Free Comic Book day over here - the added expense of express flight shipments, normally not as noticeable in the cost of a full price comic, makes it prohibitively expensive if those comics are being given away, especially considering the tighter margins London shops operate under.

Nevertheless, the 38 Diamond UK accounts that are participating are Paradox 17 in Poole, Imagination Station in Carlisle, Sheffield Space Centre in Sheffield, Comix Shoppe in Swansea, Central City Comics in Ipswich, Forbidden Planet in Glasgow, Krackers in Taunton, Calamity Comics in Harrow and Watford, Magic Labyrinth in Leicester, Abstract Sprockets in Norwich, Chaos City in St Albans, Off World in Whitley Bay, Comic Connection in Banbury, Batcave in Blackburn, Travelling Man in York, Newcastle, Manchester and Nottingham, A Place In Space in Croydon, Too Fat Goblinz in Croydon, Millenium Comics in Northwich, Asylum Books & Games in Aberdeen, Ace Comics in Colchester, Bounty Hunters in West Kirby, Comix-Shop.co.uk in Berkshire, OK Comics in Leeds, Cardiff's Comics Guru Presents in, well, Cardiff, Close Encounters in Bendford, Comic Culture in Lincoln, The Astral Gypsy in Coventry, Destination Venus in Harrogate and Woodbine Art Limited in Brackley.

Oh, and Album 67 in Paris, Solaris Comics and Relax Comics in Athens and Comicworld in Hellas. There are more Diamond UK comic shops participating in capital cities of other countries than in the UK.

One hilarity Londoners will be spared is the Wizard FCBD volume listing the top 100 graphic novels. No graphic novels published last year are included because it's the exact same volume as was sold to be given away as last year, with new Wizard ads stuck in it.

And just how many retailers forgot to order the "Superman/Batman" #1 freebie, because it was a late addition?

HOT WATER IN TORONTO - Updated 5/2/06 12:30 AM PDT

[Yellow Light]Taki Soma has been talking about her Mid Ohio assault at the recent Toronto convention to a number of people, along with Ken Lillie-Paetz and Rowan Rozanski. It looks clear that names are going to be publicly named this week or next, and various versions of the story are going to fly back and forth.

When that happens, it might be worth bearing in mind that a number of statements previously circulated may have been erroneous. The accused individual in question certainly does not have the power or influence attributed to him in certain reports, and not the ability to hire, fire, blacklist or promote within the industry. Also, I understand that according to Ohio police, Taki Soma declined to press charges, rather than they.

It's also worth remembering the accused denies the substance of the accusation. The organization he works for hired an independent legal firm to investigate claims earlier in the year, yet the accused individual remains in his job. And that a certain people who may have been expected to back this cause have backed off.

Some people will always claim that there's no smoke without fire. I should know. Elayne Riggs once accused me online of statutory rape at a US convention. It turns out she'd mistaken me for another British fellow (an individual who at the time was as underage as the girl in question), but that did make for a very awkward period when she refused to address this matter, and it still comes up in conversation and Google searches many years later.

The cause for which Friends Of Lulu are fundraising is a noble, moral and necessary one. The specific case in question that it champions, may end up harming that cause.

UPDATE: The Comics Journal has published online a full, frank and indepth report on Taki Soma's allegations regading the Ohio convention, naming Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the CBLDF as the accused party.

Brownstein issued a response, which follows here:

"Though I'd hoped that the allegations brought against me would nothave been aired in a court of public opinion, circumstances are suchthat I must provide my perspective. I did not come forward sooner outof respect for Taki, as I didn't want to cause her any more hurt thanI already, unintentionally, had. Right now, unfortunately, there istoo much poisonous speculation circling about the incident, so I feelthat the record must be set straight.

"What happened in Ohio started when, after a party on the evening inquestion, Taki invited me to accompany her and Ken Lillie-Paetz backto her hotel room. This wasn't unusual – I'd known both of them formore than a year and regarded them as friends. In her room, Takiserved more drinks, and suggested we go down to the pool. In thepool, everyone was intoxicated and rowdy. At one point, very late inthe evening, I was sitting in the Jacuzzi with her and Ken, and Ifeigned to lift up her shirt. It was a stupid, drunken prank, of whichI'm ashamed. It was something I'd never done before, nor anything I'ddo since. I did not, at any point, grab, fondle, or expose herbreast, nor was that ever my intention.

"I feel terrible for hurting Taki's feelings. The following day, andon several occasions since, I apologized to Taki for my bad behavior. I also spoke with Ken at several points over the course of theweekend, to see if we could find a way to honorably set matters right.Unfortunately my sincere apologies have all been rejected. Icontinue to feel genuine regret that I hurt someone I regarded as afriend, and I hoped she would accept my repeated apology, but sincethat's not the case, I want to end the speculation surrounding thisincident, because it's not fair to the industry or to the people thiswas being speculated about.

"The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund handled the incident completelyproperly by taking Taki's complaint seriously, and promptly retaininga law firm specializing in such matters to conduct a thorough,impartial investigation. I participated fully with thatinvestigation, which concluded at the end of February, a fact of whichTaki was informed.

"Likewise, I have not done and would not do anything to besmirch norharm Taki's reputation or career in any manner. I'm the servant of apublic trust who has never worked with Taki in any capacity, and am inno position to either offer or reject her work, nor am I in a positionto otherwise influence anyone else in doing so. Nor would I, were Iin such a position of influence.

"I hope that with the passage of time that Taki will accept my publicapology, as I am sorry both to her and to the members of the ComicBook Legal Defense Fund, for this indiscretion."


[Green Light]LITG has, of late, when posting items that may spoil future stories, posted them in white. To read the text, you have to deliberately select it, with big rumour warning implications around...

It seems that Upper Deck Entertainment has no such reticence. For their "Infinite Crisis" trading card series, there is a promotional page. With two Flashes. If you click on the one standing at the back, you can read his personal history and that (whited out text, select it to read it)...

the new Flash will be Bart Allen, formerly Impulse. And I quote "To stop the insane villain known as Superboy-Prime, a team of speedsters from several eras trapped their foe within the heart of the speed force, the other-dimensional source of their powers. The effort was untimately unsuccessful, and the attempt seemingly robbed all the Flashes of their physics-defying speed. Only Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, remained in possession of even a fraction of his former super-speed - and Wally West vanished completely, leaving Bart Allen to carry on the mantle of the Flash."

Also note, that as predicted, Wally West "disappears", rather than dies as previously planned.

Except, is that an intentional distraction? Something to put people off the track? When researching this further, I'm told that at the end of "Infinite Crisis," Bart reappears older, as seen in that Upper Deck visual, with no powers, and hands the Flash costume to... Jay Garrick. Which is a whole new thing. Are DC playing silly buggers?

I do hope so. It's much more fun that way.


[Green Light]Variety reported that Joe Cornish would be co-writing "Ant Man" with director Edgar Wright Jr. And the internet shrugged. Who is Joe Cornish after all?

Joe is one of the funniest comedy writers in Britain. Alongside Adam Buxton, they burst into television for "Takeover TV," a show that would air clips that viewers send it, in the dark, dark early 90s days before YouTube. Basically "Star Wars" reshot and rescripted using action figures from "Star Wars." They got their own series off the back of it, "The Adam And Joe Show" where they would refilm "Trainspotting" with action figures from "Star Wars." They continued to create bizarre, cultish and hilarious comedy for a very small audience who would grow up and make "Spaced" and "Shaun Of The Dead." Indeed, Joe Cornish is a "Shaun" zombie and made the "Zombie Video Diary" on the DVD.

Basically, Joe Cornish is great. Edgar Wright Jr. is also great. On that talent alone, "Ant Man" should well be the best movie to come out with that flashy Marvel logo stapled on the front. And possibly better than this.


[Green Light]Last week, on the Byrne Board, user Bill Wiist asked "JB: I heard a rumor... . . . that Marvel was trying to get you to come back and write an X-book. Any truth to this one? Sounds made up to me."

John Byrne replied "Sorry, Bill, I'm not at liberty to discuss this just now."

In today's media infused society, we are so ready to see a "no comment" as some kind of confirmation. And certainly Byrne's choice of words is intended to fuel such thoughts. And message boards all over so complied.

It certainly made some kind of sense. With "Blood Of The Demon" cancelled at DC, Byrne's only solicited book is "Atom," a project he was the replacement on, and there has been some disquiet amongst Dan DiDio's camp over Byrne's withdrawal from a Superman movie project.

John Byrne had previously burnt his bridges at Marvel, first over repeated constant criticism of their managerial style, their decision to cancel "X-Men: Hidden Years," their popular creators and their output, often getting quite personal. And Byrne himself had said he wouldn't work at Marvel until Joe Quesada was no longer Editor In Chief.

But then Mark Millar goes and posts some delightful things about John Byrne and his work. With a number of Bendis plots of late originating from Byrne's earlier work, could this be a sign of a great reconciliation between Marvel and John Byrne?

Well, no. No, it isn't. It caused a slight flurry at Marvel, as I was informed there is not a shred of truth in this supposition - and then editors were asked if one of them perhaps had done something silly? John Byrne is not welcome at Marvel Comics. And for now, that's the way it's going to stay.

A few days later, Byrne made it clear.

"Okay -- the rumor is false. Completely false. Totally false. Not a shred of truth in it. Big lie.

"But in the space of a day this thread grew to seven pages, and on the strength of a rumor that I was going to write an X-Book had me writing and/or drawing just about every book ^^***** puts out, and ended with a 'guess' that the book was Batman!!!

"Let's keep this in mind the next time we hear an Internet rumor, shall we?"

What anyone might like to keep in mind about why Byrne engaged in encouraging such supposition in the first place has not been made clear.


[Green Light]Take one article about Nike product placement in comics. Take one message board. Add Tony Harris.

"If you want your comics just be quiet with all the belly aching. Jeezus. This is no different than ANY ad that has been placed in comics since the dawn of time. And guess what? AD REVENUE is what keeps comics going. NOT sales. There arent enough fans buying books to keep the industry going. Period. No argument. I have worked in the industry for 17 years. I know this to be true. I got in right at the tail end of the last BOOM. Then the bottom dropped out."


"BLIBBITY BLABBITY BLOO. I guess nobody read my post. Please READ it. Soak it in. Quit ignoring it so you can continue to bitch about NOTHING."

"What I said was NOT Opinion my fine fellow. It was FACT. Fact that I pitched the idea of Ad revenue for Machina, FACT that I got into the industry during the last BOOM, FACT that Ad Revenue constitutes almost ALL of the money that moves the industry forward.

"And you know how I know this: Cause I work in that industry, and I am privy to a lot of things you arent. I simply stated that I thought it was another fluff piece that you guys use as an excuse to bitch. That seems to be the favorite thing to do on the internet nowadays. Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch!!

"You are such a bald faced liar. You absolutely would NOT under ANY circumstance call me or anyone else on earth a dick to thier face. Especially a pro at a comics event. You don't have the stones. I wish you would though. Cause Im a 6 foot 2 inch country boy from the south. You'd get stomped. Sean Penn style."

Of course, LITG has been following the appearance of product placement over the years. And before the recent news articles, had been tracking some of the Nike logos appearing in Marvel comics. But at what stage are these agreed to?

I asked "198" writer David Hine about the placement of a Nike logo in a recent Jim Muniz panel.

Hine told me, "You're right, that does look like product placement. The Nike sticker wasn't there in the inked art that I saw, so it may have been inserted at production stage. I can't speak for Jim Muniz, but I need hardly say that I do not personally endorse Nike products."

Of course, I'd be quite willing to endorse Kentucky-Fried-Child-Hand-Stitched-Foie-Gras-Covered-Ivory-Torture-Handcuffs in return for ready cash. But then, you all knew that...


[Green Light]My best friend and fanatical movie blogger for film ick, Brendon Connelly, is moving back to the UK this week, coming out of Cleveland. But before he left he saw a lot of "Spider-Man 3" being filmed. He writes for LITG, "Spidey's week in Cleveland is up, but it looks like they got a great sequence in the can. I've managed to follow just about everything that will happen in the scene, from Spidey pounding the Sandman, through all manner of spills and thrills to the villain's escape. I also got a good look at a few mysterious details - which might be spoilers, or at least clues to spoilers. There's more about it all film ick now, and a few older ones, from earlier in the week. I'm really going to miss my daily fix of Spider-Man second unit hoo-ha."


[Green Light]Variant Edition, comic book news, reviews and culture, basically anything comic book related, with a style stolen from "entertainment news" TV programs. half an hour, covering news of the week, interviews, toys, reviews, convention coverage, all that. Click here to see more.

It beats a bunch of guys sitting in their basement around a microphone I suppose.


[Green Light]This week DC will announce that they're launching a new "Mystery in Space" comic (LITG passim) as well as a new "Tales of Unexpected" series (not-LITG passim).


[Green Light]Future Marvel big comic listings, courtesy of Amazon. "Daredevil Vol. 6 HC " - expected, but it does explain how they'll package the remaining, shorter arc, by packaging it with the Bendis/David Mack arc that was missed out earlier in the run, featuring Leap-Frog. The "Daredevil: Father 6-issue HC" is now scheduled for September. Punisher Max: From First to Last HC will collect "Punisher: The End," "The Tyger" and "The Cell" one-shots. And "Ultimate Marvel Team-Up," - the softcover of that massive hardcover, thought never returning, is back.


The charity anthology, launching at the Bristol Convention in two weeks, is centred on football, what with the upcoming World Cup. Previews here. And the LOEG statue auction starts next week. All money raised goes to benefit Childline.


[Green Light]An eBay link for an Alan Moore rarity I can't afford.

You know, someone really should reprint that.

And an eBay link for the hundreds of items I'm putting up for grabs, so that I can afford something like the link above. Please visit, watch as many Items as you can, and take advantage of my reduced postage costs for multiple wins...

Mike S Miller of Alias Comics is also a major eBay seller. His eBay name? Jesusfreek101. And also that for an extremeley rare "Lullaby" premium comic, only 70 in existence, he has been selling an awful lot of them.


What would an anniversary column be without personal plugs?

"Civil Wardrobe" is my new project, parodying certain trends in recent comics. Now with Ashley Wood, Kaare Andrews, Darick Robertson, Billy Dallas Patton, Lea Hernandez, Frazer Irving, Fred Hembeck, Ilya attached. More artists needed, ask your exclusive person if they can spare you for a very silly one page splash somewhere.. and a couple of publishers to send me more details if they want to publish it... you know who you are...

I already mentioned my massive eBay selling operation. So I won't mention it again.

RichAndMark have just seen the new British Airways TV ad. turn up your speakers and see if you can see something similar.


Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum.

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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