LYING IN THE GUTTERS VOL 2 COLUMN 28
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.
BATTLE OF BRITTON
The latest from the IPC/Wildstorm stable to follow “Albion” and “Thunderbolt Jaxon.” “Battler Britton”. For those unfamiliar, these should give you a flavour…
I have no idea about creators yet. But c’mon, that’s got to be Garth Ennis, hasn’t it?
SIMON LE BON LIVES DOWN THE ROAD FROM MY HOUSE, YOU KNOW.
In the latest of a line of pop culture sensations to take a phrase, and replace one of the words with a proper name, Aaron Williams and Scott Kurtz are to launch a new comic book from Image called “Truth, Justin and the American Way.” Art is provided by Italian artist Giuseppe Ferrario.
I’d suspect that this may be a hoax, like that Dazzler thing from way back, but c’mon, no one’s actually going to invent a title like that are they? Not for a hoax at least.
Maybe. Apparently it’s in the vein of “The Greatest American Hero.” It’s eighties nostalgia-ful as well. Expect lots of prominent references to Knight Rider and Rubik Cubes. Maybe even Tron!
RONIN RONIN RONIN
Had this about a month ago, but couldn’t bring myself to run it. Still, it’s a slowish column this week, and someone has actually scanned it in, so…
The true identity of the “Ronin” character, currently appearing in the Avengers?
Tom DeFalco’s “The Avengers: The Ultimate Guide” published by DK Publishing.
Click here for the scan.
Be warned, you might not want to spoil it. I said you might not want to… oh never mind. You won’t listen to a word I say.
Bob Wayne calls me Rich “Rosebud” Johnston. And Rich “Soylent Green is people” Johnston. Probably thinks he’s being funny.
One notable missing party of Brighton this year was DC’s Patty Jeres. Patty has often been the nice cop face of DC for comic creators, retailers, press and fans, especially in the UK where she made a point of repeat visits. Her status at DC Comics is undetermined, either on sick leave or on gardening leave, depending to whom you talk. And a number of people in Brighton made it clear that her continued absence was noted.
Long seen as a co-leader with Bob Wayne of DC’s tightly knit sales and marketing team, sources at DC have over the last year made it clear to me that her prolonged absence was part of a weakening of Bob Wayne’s position within the company – which others had seen as a stranglehold. However, since this emerged earlier in the earlier in the year, there have been a few developments. As Bob Wayne’s contract was announced as being extended. Newsarama recently summarised other events, placing the dots though declining to join them.
The moving of Bill Rosemann to Marketing in Patty Jeres’ absence, only for Bob Wayne to have him sent him back to Creative Services in a week. Nellie Kurtzman’s hiring that lasted four months before moving on. And the repeated listing of DC Marketing positions that have repeatedly failed to be filled, despite applications from very qualified candidates.
And Brian Hibbs’ column at Newsarama on the RRP stated, “It is blatantly obvious to me that the resources being driven at the Direct Market from DC are diminishing. Paul gave a very fine, very reassuring speech when I brought the question up – a speech worthy of a politician, really, where he said there’s more money in manpower at DC now than there was a year ago. But what he neglected to add was that much of that money was in the form of 6-figure VPs, not bodies-on-the-floor.”
Together, this gives the appearance of a tug of war within DC’s Sales and Marketing, between distinct points of view with neither gaining the upper hand. Patty Jeres is not back at DC. But then any attempt to replace her, or parts of her job description by people outside of the department, appear to have been stymied.
Both Bob Wayne and his new boss, Senior VP Stephanie Fierman, visited Brighton last week for the UK convention, though Stephanie was reportedly nonplussed by the event. Although very pleasant and charming in person, I was informed by people at the convention and at DC that she feels the expense in travelling cross-continental and the use of resources are wasted, given the return. And certainly the failure of convention projection equipment can’t have exactly helped. One repeated line heard by people at the convention was Stephanie’s insistence that Bob tell “Karen” – presumably Vertigo executive editor Karen Berger – what goes “on” at these panels and conventions.
It’s possible Live-Ing In The Gutters wasn’t the best introduction to the “zany” British style.
But over the last two decades, DC Comics, especially Karen Berger and Vertigo, has used the British comic book scene as a recruiting and maintenance ground with a number of their most prominent projects and talent emerging from this annual foray. And Bob Wayne has repeatedly used the event to court and maintain a relationship with UK retailers, otherwise often seemingly cut off. This is one of the reasons given why DC comics sell so well in UK comic stores – and it’s also the reason the current IPC line of books exist at DC. And the long standing Titan Books distribution deal has put DC trade paperbacks and graphic novels deeply into British bookshops.
We also get his sense of humour. Unless he’s cracking jokes about me, obviously.
It’s doubtful this strategy could be successfully challenged, but it does effectively highlight a plurality of thinking within DC.
Oh. by the way, here’s a shot from that “Live-Ing In The Gutters”…
Claypool Comics is a small publisher with big dreams and commitment to match. Peter David’s “Soulsearchers And Company” and “Deadbeats” publishing over seventy issues a piece and “Elvira” going over one hundred and fifty. Basically doing “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” before Fox decided to have a go, Claypool publishes modern twists on classic horror stories and have garned a group of long time fans.
Possibly not enough however. I talked to publisher David Seidman this weekend and he told me that after Diamond changed their recent “threshold” levels on what they would or would not carry, he checked to see if it would affect Claypool at all. He was told that Diamond decided on a case by case basic, that nothing was set in stone, that long term publishers like Claypool would be looked on favourably and books trending upwards would be safe.
So with Claypool introducing special Jump On issues, and getting “spotlights” and “certified cool” in Diamond Previews, things were going in the right direction.
Last week however, Seidman was emailed by Diamond, to say they would stop carrying “Deadbeats” and “Soulsearchers” from their April cover-dated issues, shipping in February, as they didn’t meet the threshold levels. A few hurried phone calls later and David has had to create a new plan. He’s calling and emailing retailers to encourage them to bump orders for the jump on issues, and drumming up interest on the message boards. He’s written a message here and it’s starting to get positive feedback. Of course, he picked Thanksgiving Weekend to do it…
David refused to answer questions about what might happen if sales don’t see a spike and Diamond do drop the books. His message is, if you’ve ever enjoyed a Claypool book, order a new issue through Diamond. I might add the words “while you still can.”
Talking to Diamond representatives, I was told that this is a business decision informed by cold hard economic fact – Diamond are not a charity. Something no one could argue with. But losing one of the longest lasting publishers in comics today would be a terrible shame.
THE MINUTE MEN – Updated 3:00 PM PST
Welcome to the 24 minute comic book, created at Brighton by all sorts of people, hosted by Adian Brown.
I hear word that one of my fave creators, Len Strazewski, is creating an anthology project entitled “Objects of Power.” Short stories introducing new characters. I was also told he’s gong to develop a project with famed Batman artist Norm Breyfogle – the first time they’ve worked together since “Prime” for Malibu’s Ultraverse.
In e-mail, Len told me, “All true. I’m on sabbatical from my job as a journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago with the school’s encouragement to do more comics. Tenure is a wonderful thing.
“Norm and I have just started talking again, but are being strongly encouraged to put something together.”
So Lee Bermejo was going to draw “Hellboy,” but Duncan Fegredo replaced him, who was going to draw Faker but Jock replaced him… hang on, I’ll start again. So Pascual Ferry was going to draw all of “Mister Miracle,” but Billy Patton replaced him, who was going to draw all the rest of “Mister Miracle” but Freddie E. Williams III replaced him… hang on I’ll start again… ah why bother. Don’t you just hate it when you wake up and discover Dan DiDio has stolen your scoop on “Aquaman: Sword Of Atlantis” and “Supergirl” getting a Thousand Year Gap?
Pencils for what would have been the cover to “Mister Miracle” #3 by Billy Dallas Patton…
From the upcoming “What If?” Featuring Wolverine issue, art by Jon Proctor.
There are a few others, but that one just made me laugh the most.
CRAICING THE INTERNET IN HALF – Updated 3:00 PM PST
A quick heads up for Irish LITG fans, there’s a bumber comics weekend in Dublin on the first weekend in December. The first ever Irish Comics Expo in the Central Hotel on Saturday 3rd, from 10 till 5 then in the bar. Comics, pros, the usual sort of thing. firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Then on Sunday Ireland’s biggest comics convention take place across the liffey in Wynnes Hotel from 10 to 6. Free admission, and there’s movie nonsense going on as well. email@example.com for details.
A CULTURAL CHRISTMAS TREAT
Thanks to the continual vagaries of the multi-region DVD market, the US and the UK are often deprived of being able to buy the finest of televisual entertainment by our ham fisted local distributors. But for those willing to pay the extra postage, here are some of the finest region-exclusive items to purchase.
Jerry Springer The Opera – possibly the finest, most depraved theatrical event ever recorded. Shown on BBC2 earlier in the year, it is guaranteed never to be shown on US television, because the mobs would burn down the stations involved. Incredibly offensive, very very funny, and surprisingly touching, poignant and moralistic. My favourite number is probably “Dip Me In Chocolate And Throw Me To The Lesbians” but I have a lot of time for “Chick With A Dick With A Heart.” Oh, and God’s “It Ain’t Easy Being Me.”
And if you like that, the director and co-writer, Stewart Lee, he of Alan-Moore-radio-interview-fame, has a Stand Up DVD out too. And the weirdest amongst you may find much to enjoy in Nathan Barley – with some very creative extras.
And for those looking for a little history, The Comic Strip Presents gives you more bang for your buck-translated-into-sterling. Peep Show is great, both series. And because you really want it, New Doctor Who..
Thanks to Jonah Weiland for showing me this never-seen-in-the-UK show Dave Chappelle Series One and Two. A sketch and stand up comedy show with shouting. It occasionally mentions racial matters. Imagine if Richard Blackwood was really good, had the best writers in the industry, and wasn’t just a twat. No, we’ve got nothing like this. But ta da, now we have.
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Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org 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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