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LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOL 2 COLUMN 29

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 sources and checked with respective publisher representatives before publication. 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.

MEN AT WORK

[Green Light]

“The Omega Men” is a new limited series, to be published by DC Comics next year.

Will it have Lobo in it?

Well no, but that’s okay. There’s a “Batman/Lobo” miniseries in the works as well. And “Challengers Of The Unknown”. Creative teams, when we have them…

GENESIS? OR REVELATION?

[Yellow Light]

Marvel are starting to prepare their new big mystery – who are the mystery men on the cover of Ed Brubaker’s “X-Men: Deadly Genesis” #4? And what is the identity of one mysterious fellow who knows Cyclops and Xavier, but not Wolverine?

The filename of this artwork on websites is ‘XDEADLYG004_edited.jpg’. So, what’s been edited? Turn the white out on chaps!

Well, in an earlier version of the image doing the rounds (that now seems to have been deleted), the mystery figures all appear to be Charles Xavier. Or looks like him.

Which bumps up speculation that the mystery character is Changeling, who took Xavier’s place and supposedly died during an early run on the book back in the sixties/seventies/probably before I was born.

You know, Marvel, if you tease a mystery with blanked out figures, you really have to make sure the actual covers aren’t available in some form somewhere… (“Ultimates,” “X-Men,” “X-Statix”…)

IT’S A MIRACLE

[Yellow Light]

The saga of Miracleman between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane is an arduous one and I’ve covered it at length in the past.

As it stands, according to prevalent opinion, each Marvelman/Miracleman creator owns their own work on the book, while the rights to publish Miracleman/Marvelman are currently divided 60% to Gary Leach (Alan Davis passed his rights to Gary), 30% to Neil Gaiman (Alan Moore passed his rights to Neil, who also represents Mark Buckingham) and 10% to original publisher Dez Skinn (who just received a payment for a similar share in “V For Vendetta”). Todd McFarlane’s purchase of Eclipse only brought him the Miracleman files (which he sent to Gaiman) and an expired trademark.

Yes in the last few weeks, “Spawn” #150 and the Image Hardcover feature a character The Man Of Miracles.

David Hine, the current “Spawn” writer, told me that he doesn’t intend to have any character in “Spawn” whose ownership is currently contested and that as far as he is concerned, the character Man Of Miracles is not Miracleman and bears no resemblance to the character. He has a clear idea of who the character is, which will be made clear as the book progresses. And I know both he and his friend Mark Buckingham had discussed this amicably.

But his appearance in the Image Hardcover, written and drawn by Todd McFarlane, has the character more prominently resembling the publisher-challenged fictional character.

And as a sneaky aside, the character Man Of Miracles appears to be a walking retcon, replacing every appearance in the past of the character Cogliostro, to which Neil Gaiman has legally won a claim, although recompense for that has been held up since Todd McFarlane Productions declared bankruptcy one year ago. The company owes Gaiman and others considerable amounts of money.

The whole system is a mess – but by using Man Of Miracles Todd McFarlane appears to making it even more of a mess for his own entertainment. Who knows, maybe he’ll entertain a reader or two in the process…

CRISIS ON INFINITE INDEXES

[Green Light]

What is it with collected volumes of Crisis? Are they cursed?

The “Absolute Crisis” volume has a “Crisis Compendium” to guide you through this landmark DC project.

The content includes a reprint of the “Crisis Of Infinite Earths Index” from 1986. They originally credited editor Murray Ward, and writers Lou Mougin, Mark Waid, with assistance credits to Chuck Huber, Mike Tiefenbacher, Andy Mangels and Andrew McLaney.

Their level of contribution seems to differ, but the Crisis Compendium has removed the assistance credit. I understand the individuals concerned will not receive any payment or sample copies of “Absolute Crisis.” It seems DC’s contract is with Murray Ward, Lou Mougin and Mark Waid, who have not stated anyone else was involved in the project, nor requested that anyone else be credited, comped or paid.

It’s not the only issue… a few George Perez websites point out that on page 35, the “Crisis Compendium” identifies a photo as being of “Jerry Ordway and George Pérez with an unidentified friend at the 1986 Kirby Awards.”

The “unidentified friend” is Carol Flynn. George Perez’ wife.

The Compendium photo

The George Perez Magazine photo

I wonder if DC will reprint the slipcase collection, as they did the “Crisis” Hardcover those years ago? Probably not…

One other irony is that when the Index was initially published, the indicia fell off during printing and so a book containing “appearances” by virtually every DC character extant came out with no copyright notice… though DC were very understanding at the time.

LATE TO HELL

[Green Light]

So why did Lee Bermejo drop off “Hellboy,” to be replaced by Duncan Fegredo?

Well, the book was initially delayed due to Bermejo’s schedule and speed. In “BPRD,” editor Scott Allie states

“Lee [Bermejo] isn’t the fastest artist on the block (that’d be Guy [Davis]) but he’s the best guy for the job….”

and

“This week he [Bermejo] turned in pencils for four more pages of ‘Darkness Calls,’ and one of those pages in particular made Mike say to me, ‘We got the right guy.'”

But there can be only so long a patient editor can take.

Concerning the book now shipping over a year after the original planned date, on the CBR Hellboy forum, Allie answers the plaintive cry “I was hoping another artist would mean more Hellboy sooner!” with “IT DOES!”

Ouch…

Abandoned Bermejo artwork for “Hellboy: Darkness Calls”:

DEGRAPHIC JUNIOR HIGH

[Green Light]

A photo from the Frankfurt Book Fair, the same wacky people who leaked the Stephen King/Marvel story before its time…

“Degrassi Junior High: The Next Generation” graphic novels are part of a big Degrassi push next year, which also involves a “Degrassi” feature film directed by Kevin Smith.

We got “Degrassi” in the UK, though I think the “Red Hand” Gang was better. And both paled before the might that was Steven Moffat’s “Press Gang.”

Sorry. Anyway. “Degrassi” graphic novels. Sweet.

BAREFOOT DOCTORS

[Green Light]

Japanese students are putting on a stage version of “Barefoot Gen” in an attempt to encourage the population of India and Pakistan to urge their governments to get rid of nuclear weapons.

The play has been performed in Urdu and is continuing their performances in India.

And as a result, both countries have thrown out their nuclear weapons. Oh wait, no, sorry, they haven’t. Still, it’s only a matter of time,. eh?

Meanwhile, modern day Japanese comic book creators are boosting their sales by writing comics portraying Japanese troops attacked by insane cyanide-wielding Chinese armies in “Introduction to China” and Korean immigrants kill thousands of Japanese in Tokyo in “Hate Korea: A Comic.”

Consider it the Japanese version of “Liberality For All.”

DICK TOWER

[Green Light]

Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series has produced quite the fandom, as seen here. It’s full of resources, theories, and general fandom-related stuff. It maintains a comprehensive list of books that connect to “The Dark Tower.” For comic book fans looking to get into the up-coming series, but not wanting to shell out the money (or library cards) for the books, it’s a great place visit.

However, not all “Dark Tower” fans are best pleased by Stephen King and Marvel’s fans. Imagine the Newsarama Talk Boards turned up to eleven. Here are a few.

There seems concern basically that Stephen King won’t actually write the series. That Marvel are a poor choice for publisher. That comics are just for fat kids and nerds. That Marvel will end up owning part of “The Dark Tower.” Jae Lee isn’t up to it.

Well, I think we can all agree with the third one. But the rest? Please…

It does lighten me to see a mirror image of this thread, from the opposite perspective however.

We’re all the same under the skin!

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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