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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOLUME 2 COLUMN 42

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.

I’m in South Africa for a couple of weeks, so the next columns may be curtailed by the fact I’ll have to do them at the occasional internet cafe in Hermanus. So I’m glad I’m leaving you with an action packed column, covering all aspects of the industry we love.

V FOR HOW MUCH????Added 6:30 PM PDT

[Yellow Light]

Someone just sold issues two through ten of “V For Vendetta” in mint condition for $1875 on eBay.
That’s over a thousand pounds.

Looking at the the history of the bids, it seems someone may have made a mistake with their bid and missed a decimal point. But then maybe someone else did, too.

Nevertheless, I can’t be the only one diving into their longboxes for both the DC issues and thge Warriors…

DOWNLOADING DC

[Green Light]

A few months ago, Lying In The Gutters looked at a document showing what was available to illegally download from the Marvel publishing history. And the answer was pretty much all of it.

DC has a much larger backlog of material than Marvel. But the answer is surprisingly similar. In “What’s Left To Scan (& Scanned) In The DC Universe” we discover that 96% of the last six years of material is available, while only 32% of comics published between 1939 to 1945 is similarly available. This figure then rises through the decades, with a current 81.5% of DC titles ever published available to torrent to your hard drive.

This includes the likes of “Cancelled Comics Cavalcade” 1 and 2, “Flex Mentallo” and the “Elseworlds 80 Page Giant”.

The column two weeks ago revealed for the first time how Marvel might be making steps to launch a digital comics solution.

It might be wise for DC to follow suit in the near future… hell, they probably are.

PICTURE PERFECT

[Green Light]

The cover for “Superman/Batman” #27 featuring the Earth Two version of Huntress illustrates a memory of the character from Power Girl. Which means more fun DC continuity loops to play with…

Possibly the most hilarious unintentional juxtaposition of photo and subject this week (since the Guardian had Ricky Gervais laughing at Holocaust cartoons) courtesy of Christopher Butcher and The Globe And Mail.

And the new issue of “Starship Troopers” came out last week. Sadly missing a penultimate page which makes it look like the priest is being shot from out of a space cannon. For those of you who need that all important missing exposition, here’s the page in question. Print it, cut it out, stick it in the comic.

ONE BODY LATER

[Green Light]

Look away for some revelations as to Firestorm’s new identity, One Year Later…

I understand that In order to use his powers, Firestorm needs to be merged with another hero – in this case, Firehawk. If they are separated by more than a mile, Firestorm goes into meltdown.

So… when do we have the Quantum & Woody crossover?

And back to your non-spoilered reality. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the grass needs mowing.

YOU’RE MY ILLUSTRATOR NOW, DAVE.

[Green Light]

Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s new book is called “Crazy Hair.”

And Dave McKean has been approached by Terry Gilliam to work on the been-in-preproduction-for-two-decades “The Defective Detective,” along the same lines as “Mirrormask.”

META TEXT

[Yellow Light]

The new series “52” has been putting preview pages all over the place.

One purports to show The Question removing the Bat sign from the Bat Signal and replacing it with a Question Mark, only to turn it from the sky, to shine down on Gotham with the phrase “I can see you”.

“52” is co-written by Grant Morrison and spins out of the “Infinite Crisis,” including its attempts to make DC into a better place to tell stories. Morrison has also commented at large about the metatextuality of comics, and in “Animal Man” #19, referencing a classic Bryan Talbot strip, he had Animal Man high on peyote, turn to look at the reader and exclaim:

Could Morrison be doing something similar with The Question? Is this part of a metatextual flavour to the new DCU? Or is it just a reference to set the fanboy tongues wagging?

Maybe all three…

TRANSFORMING THE PASTUpdated 6:30 PM PDT

[Yellow Light]

Chuck Dixon will be writing an arc on the IDW Transformers series, taking the characters through a number of Earth time settings, including that of Mark Twain and Jules Verne. The artist was originally Ted McKeever, but he had to drop out. Guido Guidi, who has previously worked with Dreamwave’s various Transformers series, is taking over. Hopefulkly he’ll get fully paid this time.

All right. Which one of the Decepticons is going to turn into the Nautilus then? And which Autobot will transform into a white picket fence? Hmm? Hmm?

ORDER AND BE DAMNED

[Green Light]

Looks like the comics retail community is going to have a rather big order this May. Must be all those copies of Holed Up #3 they’re putting down. Possibly might be the One Year Later/Civil War mash of titles from Marvel and DC.

Jerry Wall of Atomic Comics said on the CBIA;

“Looking through, I can thank Marvel and DC. Books like ‘Wolverine: Origins,’ ‘Infinite Crisis’ (and the related books) and such. The nice thing is, most of these high quantity books are also high dollar books ($3.99 or more) and also have a very high sell through.

“Assuming these books ship on time, Marvel and DC will be making me a lot of money! Months like this make me understand why some shops do only Marvel and DC. I think 2 DC titles alone will pull me in more than all of Image and Dark Horse combined.”

Ouch…

CIVIL LIBERTIES

[Green Light]

There has been some disquiet about Marvel’s “Civil War” series becoming a political mouthpiece for left-wing comic creators.

Joe Michael Straczynski has been talking about Marvel’s Civil War, especially the political aspects.

Responding to the New York Times summary of the series as “Would you give up your civil liberties to feel safer in the world?” JL Barnett stated “If that’s even close to the way it is presented by Marvel then there can be no question which side is right, despite the writers claims. Because no one who puts safety first would phrase the question that way.

“So basically everyone against registration is being true to themselves, while everyone else is either behaving out of character or being simply a stereotype of their character, to fit them on the appropriate sides.”

JMS replied:

“Actually…no.

“This was one of the points I raised with Marvel when the idea first came across the pond from Mark Millar…those who take sides on this issue must, on balance (there are always folks on any side of an argument who take that position for purposes of convenience) do so because they actually *believe* that they are right.

“Which is why, in the first Spidey issue of mine that actually deals straight-on with the topic, I went to considerable pains to spell out exactly why the senators and others involved with this genuinely believe they’re right in doing so…and some of their points even Peter can’t argue with. Doctors belong to the AMA and drugs are administered through the FDA so that if there’s a mistake, there’s accountability. If the doctor on your block should be held accountable and be find-able in the event of a mishap, shouldn’t a hero also be liable, find-able and accountable if he should wipe out a city block in a mishap? And if not, then is he really a hero?

“There are likely some heroes out there who are tired of working on the periphery, tired of fighting the police and the bad guys, who wouldn’t mind the idea of being endorsed and acknowledged and brought in, in exchange for legitimacy and the ability to focus on just the bad guys. CIA agents are covert, work under a variety of aliases…but the government knows their real names. Shouldn’t that apply to heroes as well?

“So in sum, I don’t think it’s really a paper tiger or as much a strawman argument as you might suggest. (In some of our knock-downs at the retreat, Mark took the position that hell yeah, most heroes would go for it, just as most americans would go for it…but then he’s Scottish, and therefore of suspicious morality.)*

“(And to your first notation…there have been any number of Gallup polls and others that ask straight up, “Would you be willing to sacrifice some of your liberties in exchange for better national security?” and the majority of those polls have, sadly in my view, come back in the positive.)

“*(and that was just a joke, for any scots in the group)”

I checked in with the Amoral Mark Millar who told me “Yeah, JMS is absolutely right. The most obvious and wrong thing to do when you’re writing a story like this is pick a side. If you’re writing a story that splits the Marvel Universe right down the middle then there shouldn’t be an easy answer. There shouldn’t be a right or wrong, just like the real world. The superheroes who want to work for the government under a license and effectively become super-employees do so for very valid reasons. Likewise, the guys who want to stay autonomous feel they’re at their most effective when they’re on their own and don’t want politicians telling them who the bad guys are. I’m writing this thing and even *I* can’t say who’s right because they’re both right and they’re both wrong. That’s what makes it work and such a difficult choice for the super-heroes to make.”

Expect those message boards to get more and more off thread this year…

POWER OF FIVE PINTS

[Green Light]

I went drinking with Tony Lee last week. He, and a bunch of other chaps and chapesses in the pub, had all fallen from Speakeasy’s publishing schedules.

Lee told me his other news – that he’s signed with Walker Books to adapt the first of the Anthony Horowitz “Power of Five” novels into a graphic novel – “Raven’s Gate” for next year.

Also round the table was artist Natalie Sandalls, who is pencilling book #3 of “Starship Troopers,” and will contribute art for books #1 and #2.

LITTLE PREVIEWUpdated 6:30 PM PDT

[Green Light]

Andi Watson has a new TPB out soon from Oni. Collecting the six issue series, “Little Star,” it involves pottery, family, buying a house and dealing with being the father of a two year old daughter – all while being a dreamer and fantasist.

Mine is one-year-old next week. Naturally, it got me right there. Here are a few pages I scanned in.

Andi Watson is one of my favourite comics creators. This is up there with “Breakfast After Noon.”

ENGLISH PREVAILS

[Green Light]

LITG previously reported that German and Italian publicity posters and advertising for “V For Vendetta” credit Alan Moore, against his wishes and Warner Bros. current policy. Still, it’s not in English, so that’s okay, right?

Poster art from South Africa… in English…

Oops.

And for Alan Moore, on BBC2’s Culture Show on Thursday, click here.

WHO REVIEWS THE REVIEWERS?

[Green Light]

A new daily comics review site has launched, Comics Nexus. Go kill them.

JOHNSTON JOHNSTON JOHNSTON

[Green Light]

I know this week’s column has been severely lacking in any personal plugs, and I know you’re all gutted for it. So it make up for it, here is a likeness I’ve been asked to approve for an upcoming comics project – albeit one I will have no involvement with.

They could have at least spelt my name right.

SMALL PRINT

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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