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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.


[Green Light]

I’ve got a horrible head cold, sore throat and I’m heading to Brighton for some sea air. So while I’ll looking at the ice cold waves, something else a little aqua for you guys – probably to make up for
the delayed column on my return.

The Aquaman TV series listing breakdowns. Enjoy.



[Green Light]

Mike Meyhew is working on a new X-Men project featuring Professor X. How do we know? Because he’s asking for a model.

So if you’re a bald, stately figure, why not give Mike an email. He’s paying $125 an hour after all…

As to the project… could it be another origin or a Hidden Years type project? Because Mike is also looking for “young Cyclops, Beast and Angel, as well as a young Jean Grey.” You know, they may only have 198 mutants left – could we see more X-stories set in the past?

Or not? Or mutants wearing stripes? Or going into space? Or something else? I think I’m getting flu.


[Yellow Light]

The “Crisis On Infinite Earths” figures are being recalled by DC Comics, due to quality concerns. DC have a history of allowing these more readily than, say, certain Marvel hardcovers. But as could be quite expensive shipping-wise, and the characters would be destroyed anyway, is there another solution…?

One possibility is that retailers would return just the heads. Picture the look on a small child’s face as they enter their favourite comics emporium to find the manager cutting the head of Barry Allen off with a pair of bolt cutters.

Then picture the postal services when a box opens by accident and lots of disembodied superhero heads fall out over the floor.

And all the eBay listings with superhero characters with Smurf heads stuck on.

Shame there isn’t a Max Lord figure in there…

Either way, DC will have the situation resolved by the end of the week.

Anyone want a Wolverine Hardcover missing some speech balloons?

UPDATE 11/18/05: While DC have confirmed “Crisis On Infinite Earths” Series 1 figures are returnable, sadly they’ve decided they’d prefer to receive the fuller figure…

Consumers can hand them into retailers, retailers can send them back via Diamond for a full refund plus $5.

A new production run will be available next year.


[Red Light]

Anyone who actually knows about shares, Marvel or otherwise, make any sense out of this conspiracy theory? I’d hate to just spread uniformed crazy talk.

Oh, listen to me.


[Green Light]

Okay, CBR already reported this. But c’mon!

Stan Lee’s cameo in “X-Men 3” is of an old man watering his lawn in suburbia, as a telekinetic mutant drives by and gestures toward Lee. The water then stops falling from the hose towards to ground, and begins “falling” upwards, to which Lee apparently responds “what the fuck.”

A scene Stan Lee had to retake again and again. Just imagine if your job involved making Stan Lee swear repeatedly.

And Stan Lee, think of the children!


[Green Light]

Last week, LITG mentioned that Marvel was employing one of the best selling comic writers in the world for Wolverine. Well, now they’re snagging another team whose product puts “Marvels” to shame, sales wise.

Claudio Villa, co-creator of “Dylan Dog,” and Tito Faraci, writer of “Brad Barron” and “Diabolik,” both from Italy, are working with Ralph Macchio at Marvel to produce a Daredevil and Captain America graphic novel. Faraci has previously worked with Marvel Italia on a Venice-set Spider-Man story with Giorgio Cavazzano.

But this is just the beginning. Panini Comics head Marco Marcello Lupoi announced a total of five stories from European creators.

These guys sell Stephen King numbers…


[Yellow Light]

Final Wildstorm “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “The Black Dossier,” multiformat, check (there’s a CD in there as well.)

Hawkman becoming Hawkgirl, check.

“Wonder Woman” cancelled, check (being relaunched by Allan Heinberg and Terry Dodson as a One Year Later title – possibly with Donna Troy in the lead)

“Gotham Knights” and “Gotham Central” cancelled, check (look for “Streets Of Gotham” and “Batman Confidential” soon.)

“Flash” cancelled… ooh, not check (but with LITG rumouring Bart Allen in the lead, written by Mark Waid… it all ties in nicely for a One Year Later relaunch.)

Me getting pissy because a leaked solicitation at the weekend killed a couple of LITG stories, check.


[Green Light]

Doing this one anyway. Following “Albion,” the next WildStorm/IPC project will be a Newcastle-set update of IPC’s “Thunderbolt Jaxon,” by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins.

Thunderbolt originally appeared in the comic book anthology “Comet” in 1949, drawn by Hugh McNeill, before reappearing in “Knockout” in the early 60s (where he was drawn by, among others, the great Ian Kennedy). It’s a five part series debuting in February.

Here’s a little background on the character.


[Green Light]

Hodder Headline is a well known UK book publisher with a wide variety of high-profile titles and names on their slate. They are the UK publisher of Neil Gaiman’s “Anansi Boys” for example.

I understand they are about to start their own graphic novel line, headed up by computer game stalwart Piers Blofeld.

No, really, that is his name.

I know. Meeting him for lunch next week, see what I find out.


[Yellow Light]

When the original art from a 1978 cover of “Uncanny X-Men,” by John Byrne and Terry Austin, was put online as part of a sale, it caused quite a mesage board stir over the appearance of what was seen as a racially offensive character in a section that would have been covered by a barcode when published.

As thread after thread kicked off, one bright spark decided to ask John Byrne to comment directly on his board. Byrne did not recall the sketch in question, but did not dismiss it either. While denying racism using his work as proof, he stated that this kind of activity was commonplace, racially, sexually in a pre-Politically Correct environment and part of acceptable in-office bad taste humour. Byrne writes:

“On one of my earliest trips into the ‘new’ Marvel offices, after I started working for them full time (around 1976 or thereabouts), I was amazed to see one office door sporting a perfectly rendered logo for ‘Captain American and de FowlCoon.’ Jokes about Black Goliath being ‘the Big Nig’ were common, and one writer — whom I shall not name, for sadly obvious reasons — used to say he wanted to do a Black Goliath story titled ‘The Jig is Up!'”

Christopher Priest recalls similar events from the other side of the fence, with a slightly different interpretation of their acceptability.

But how long did it take for things to change? In a followup message on a V thread, “Static” creator Dwayne MacDuffie commented, “I was at Marvel in the late ’80s/early ’90s and it wasn’t any better. DC in the mid to late ’90s was worse.”



[Green Light]

Dave Sim has rewritten the Creator’s Bill Of Rights as a draft document, “Creative Manifesto II,” as part of an ongoing conversation between Dave Sim and some of the industry’s more vocal figures. Fascinating stuff here, well worth digging in. Steve Bissette, Erik Larsen, Colleen Doran, Gary Groth, Mark Evanier, Rick Veitch.

Talking of Steve Bissette, he and Eddie Campbell have had a very civilised discussion about their differences over what went down concerning the publication of “From Hell,” spinning off Steve Bissette’s analysis of his problematic relationship with Alan Moore. Bissette also touches on the likelihood and possibility of “Tyrant” ever continuing in print. Fine comic book that. Any publishers, get in touch with that man. And his summation of publishing models deserves a wider audience.


[Red Light]

The new “Cyberman,” designed by Bryan Hitch.

“Ultimate Iron Man” designed by Bryan Hitch

Okay, it’s a stretch, but c’mon, play with me here.

Thank you, azureskies…

UPDATE 3:00 PM PST: Bryan Hitch has denied any similarity on his part, due to the unfortunate aspect that he didn’t actually work on Series Two of the new Doctor Who. Don’t you hate it when facts get in the way of perfectly good story?


[Green Light]

Next week’s column may well be delayed due to the Brighton convention, being run by Dez Skinn, taking place this Friday to Sunday. It’s also my birthday on Monday, so I may be dragged into all sorts of shenanigans.

But back to the convention. The range of creators is stunning. Such as Bit Titcombe who launched “Buster” back in 1960, worked on all the major humour titles, currently working on “Fimbles” and “Tellytubbies,” and last attended a convention in 1975.

But then there’s also Sydney Jordan, Harry Harrison, Steven Appleby, Steve Bell and Mike Ploog the notoriously UK-convention-shy Mark Millar, and familiar faces in Dave Gibbons, Jock, Andy Diggle, Glenn Fabry, Liam Sharp, Simon Bisley and more.

Dez tells me, “Marketing and advertising this new event along mainland European lines has seriously paid off. I feel US conventions glory in the value of back issues, gimmicks and licensed spin-offs. In Europe, value isn’t a factor. There’s no need to justify comics when they’re accepted already as an art form. With our tagline of ‘Promoting Literacy and the Visual Arts,’ Comic Expo is about the future of the industry, not wallowing in the past.”

He continued, as he often does, “What it’s resulted in, promoting the venue and location before the guests, is in getting serious heavy-hitter exhibitors. Turnaround Publisher Services, Eaglemoss, Panini… These kind of companies wouldn’t dream of attending a convention. The outreach programme was risky and bloody expensive. But it’s paid off as we’re 40% above target on exhibitors, only 3 short of 100 guests, and have people coming from across Europe, both as exhibitors and fans. Well chuffed.”

Liam Sharp will be launching the second volume of “Event Horizon,” including the second “Chase Variant” strip written by yours truly. Expect quite a splash with this one.

And then Live-Ing In The Gutters will take place at 11am Sunday morning. With regular co-panellist and Ninth Art editor Andrew Wheeler, new-to-Live-ITG, “Smoke” author Alex de Campi and whoever else I can rustle up.

My good friend Sean Azzopardi will be debuting some new works at Brighton at the Phatcatz table. Look for more “Twelve Hour Shift,” charting the further spiral into misery of Steve Jones, Concierge. More “Ed” as the amiable but strange titular character gets into a romantic mood.


Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum.

Contact me on 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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