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.


[Yellow Light]DC held a "State Of DC" meeting the other week. Major kudos all round for Dan DiDio's reinvention of the DC Universe as a unified beast - making the likes of "Galactic Storm" and "Onslaught" look meagre in their lacking of scale.

And with Crisis Aftermath tags being put on anything that moves - "The Spectre" addition came as quite a surprise to some - that policy looks likely to continue.

But the big surprise of the summit wasn't the projects announced - but Paul Levitz' potty mouth. Enough to make Todd MacFarlane blush. As a figure not known for outbursts of obscenity, there were embarrassed faces, nervous laughs, then rip roaring ones all round.

One DC staffer said they felt it was as if their granddad was reading a Tarantino script.


[Yellow Light]There was no mention of Bob Greenberger however. Last week, LITG reported that Marty Pasko had not had his contract renewed at the end of this year, this week I hear that Bob was let go, over an error in the recent "Hawkman Archive" collected volumes. Echoes of Rick Taylor on the original "Crisis" Hardcover there?

Greenberger suffered a similar fate at Marvel when they downsized their trade paperbacks, and his presence at DC was often seen as one of the 'old guard' of the comics industry. His forced absence may be interpreted as the continuing changing of that guard, which has claimed a number over the last couple of years..

When contacted, Bob would only tell me "DC Comics made its decision, which I obviously don't agree with. I remain ready, willing and able to freelance for DC (or anyone for that matter) as I start to figure out what the next chapter of my career will be."

Bob Greenberger continues to write licensed Star Trek novels.


[Green Light]Brian Wood has had a long promised title from AiT/Planet Lar, "The Tourist", that was to have been published in April. I understand it will now by published by Image.

Have a cover.


[Green Light]Lea Hernandez, who has recently received a lot of online attention over her reaction to an LITG section of the Frank Miller script for "All Star Batman."

A recent blog entry concerned a university professor writing that he found it difficult to recommend comic books to women. Having to apologise for "fan service" such as Ed Benes art in "Birds Of Prey." And saw Lea react to the phrase "If you can get past the way the women are sometimes drawn, the plotting is really effective," or "You can tell by how the women are written that the book isn't just a conveyance for sexist imagery."

First, Lea responded that there were books outside of the Big Two that might deserve attention and recommendation, with a series of statements including:

"If you can get past the fact that you're not plumbed to bleed for five or so days, you could enjoy menstruation."

Amid the general amusing responses, "Birds Of Prey" writer Gail Simone added "'Fan service' is just another bullshit self-hating term applied awkwardly by people whether it applies or not."

Gail and Lea both worked on the series "Killer Princesses," but since their relationship hasn't exactly been a rosy one. And the recent furore over the photo of Gail planned for the cover of "Sexy Chix" taken by Lea only added salt to the wounds.

There was a little back and forth between the two with Gail concluding with, "But that's just me, I'm not on a pretend crusade."

Cue for Lisa R Jonte to kick off with "Jesus Christ Gail, unclench" as the language and accusations kicked up a notch. Here are a few highlights:

"Was WiR just a pretend crusade? You certainly do all you can to distance yourself from it now."

"When the Hell did you go from being the Jon Stewart of the comics industry and become its apologist?"

"Lisa, what did the horse leave behind in the parade?"

"You know the truth of this as much as I do, and we're both a little bit too polite to state it in public."

"Bondage? Torture? Inescapable and ubiquitous crotch shots? And you dare to accuse others of being fake? Seriously, Gail, What the fuck?"

"Your memory is, I'm sorry, way off. This disavowing thing is completely in your imagination."

"You'll be happy to know the only 'bondage' since is a hot half-naked gay guy. It's much better to criticize something if you read it, Lisa."

"Whenever you're ready to send that email, I'll be here. So far, my inbox is empty."

Lea concluded:

"To paraphrase Jon Stewart responding to Bill O'Reilly:

"If Gail Simone needs to have an enemy, needs to feel persecuted, you know what? Here's my Wondercon gift to her. Are you ready? All right. I'm your enemy. Make me your enemy. I, Lea Hernandez, hate comics, comics professionals, the direct market, DC, Marvel, and fans and I will not rest until every year comics readers gather to spend a long weekend in July or August together at Wertham's homo-bitteroldwoman-manga-and-'real' books-fanserviceporium."

Finally. Thanks to Sky TFV showing FOX News in the UK, and More4 showing The Daily Show, a proper America-only reference that I actually get.

Gail's conclusion?

"Huh. That was...uh...pointless? Yes, pointless."

How did Fanboy Rampage use to end these kind of things?

Gail has since written to me to say "Lea and I had a brief, silly spat even shorter than Paris Hilton's singing career, and talked it out in private without the help of any columnists whatsoever. Friends tiff sometimes, and we are friends, and we made up, and I'm boring myself even talking about it, but there you go. You may now go back to your regularly scheduled naked pictures of chimpanzees. Thank you."

Happy to oblige, Gail.

Lea has responded on her blog with "Comments are frozen due to drive-by assholes. Gail and I have talked and have pax. Think of this as like Letterman finally having a sit-down with Oprah Winfrey."

Happy to oblige Lea.

Hey is that Dan DiDio sidling up there?

Gail Simone writes "Birds Of Prey" and "Secret Six" for DC Comics. Lea Hernandez is writing and drawing "Ironclad Petal" and "Rumble Girls: RLO." Lisa Jonte writes and draws the comic "Arcana," and the game series "Coreopsis."


[Yellow Light]Rob Liefeld has just read the Image Comics Hardcover. And gave it a very positive review. Except for all the between the line provisos that made the review such an entertaining read.

Though praising Todd's use of spot illustrations in his story, Liefeld concludes with the back-handed compliment, "I look forward to Todd's return to any sequential art in the near future."

He loved Larsen's Dragon story without hesitation, though his conclusion, "I would guess that this section is probably the most satisying treat for longtime fans." cold be interpreted as a dig against other creators, by mean types such as me.

For "Cyberforce," Liefeld makes the repeated allegation that Marc Silvestri uses ghost artists. "It was clear that he didn't draw the lion's share of this book, which was confirmed by a Top Cow insider."

Again, nothing but praise for Valentino's section. Especially not the Image Comics Timeline that Valentino wrote, in which Liefeld feels he is given just praise and credit for his role in founding Image. And also…

"Valentino's candor is refreshing and his acknowledgement that I was leaving Image and removing my books before the late 'vote him out to save face' rally occurred was shocking to read. The passage reads something like, 'Liefeld moves Extreme titles to Max Press, seen as a vote of no confidence by Image.' Next line mentions first meeting to vote out, etc. The fact that the truth is coming out after a decade long smear campaign is pretty sobering."

Liefeld also reiterates that he wishes he could have been a part of the package, alongside Whilce Portacio and Jim Lee.

"But here's hoping that a later edition, or a new attempt gets everyone together."

Yeah, right.

UPDATE 3:45 PM: Rob writes "Dude, I just read your assessment of my review of the Image Hardcover at LITG and I gotta tell you, my review was absolutley sincere. The implied negatives you perceived exist in your imagination. I love you Rich, but if I wanted to say something snarky, like when I commented on Marc's section, I said it. Truth be told, I do seriously look forward to Toddy Mac's eventual return to sequential art. He's a genius with the pencil...."


[Yellow Light]Another year, another "Wah Huh--?!" article. The Bendis written Marvel gag book their own lawyers delayed for a year.

Artist Jim Mahfood has given us another insight into one of the books changes - that was meant to be the same until publication.

In an interview with LITG favourite UGO, he talks about a missing page - "It was a splash page that was removed from the book. It was 'What if Iron Man convinced the Avengers to become alcoholics?' All the Avengers in the mansion were getting drunk together. It was hilarious and not R rated or anything like that…"

It does sound very similar to the concept of Aradication at Marvel, reported repeatedly by LITG, when the West Coast gets involved with the East. Jim Mahfood clarifies, "Like the characters getting drunk which we all thought was really funny, but when it gets to the legal department or the money people, they're like, 'No, we can't show that because, we're trying to sell this off as a movie right now. We don't want people to see this character doing this because we're trying to make millions of dollars selling this Sh*t off.' So basically it boils down to money, which is what everything boils down to."


[Green Light]The look for Zatanna

The magician Misty Lee

The naming of Zatanna's new apprentice, created by Morrison, as Misty.


UPDATE 3:45 PM: Misty Lee is Paul Dini's partner. So she's clearly swiping from Zatanna then. Except Zatanna's artists seem to reference Misty Lee. So that's them swiping Misty. And Oroboros eats its own tail.

As an aside, Zatanna's new apprentice Misty was originally called Vicky... until a change was made.


[Green Light]All this fuss about Virgin publishing comic books. Not like it's the first time. From 1985-1987, they published this:

When they stopped publishing the comic, John Brown did, at which point sales rose to one-and-a-half million. Viz has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

And every Brit wonders if the Virgin Comics line will be as punctual as their trains. Maybe they could hire Frank Quitely?


[Green Light]Go to BigMonster.TV. Click on Comics. Click on Mam Tor. Skip Past the annoying "City Of Villains" ad and see my glorious face for all of three seconds until the camera focuses, unwisely in my opinion, on Liam Sharp giving it large about Mam Tor (MAM TOR!!!) in Brighton a couple of months ago.

You can stop watching after that. I did.


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