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]Are you sick to the back teeth of DreamWave stories? Going over old ground with an irrational chip-shoulder placement? Hard luck. Here we go again.

DreamEngine has been approaching a number of studios, in Canada, in Asia, all over really, to back them up on a pitch to DC Comics from Dream Engine.

A number, knowing the history the old DreamWave had with creators, have declined. But for others, it's the chance of a lifetime. If they get paid, obviously.


[Green Light]Posy Simmonds, author of the graphic novel "Gemma Bovery," is serializing her new graphic novel in the pages of the Guardian newspaper which, after dropping then reinstating "Doonesbury," is now running more high brow cartoons and comic strips than any other paper.

"Tamara Drewe" is the story of the couple who run a writer's retreat, where authors go to seek inspiration-- spinning off from Posy's previous literary-business comic "Literary Life." Two pages every Saturday, collection in hardback later next year.

Can't wait!


[Green Light]"Strangers In Paradise," currently on issue 76, is having its final storyline worked on by creator Terry Moore, will come to an end in the next 18 months.


[Green Light]The new, revamped edition of the "Alan Moore Across The DC Universe," namely "The Alan Moore Omnibus," will include a couple of new stories. "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow" and "The Killing Joke." The cover price will still be $19.99.


[Green Light]CGI Anne Frank? Sure, that's sound like a wonderful use of Final Fantasy style computer graphics.

Especially when two people involved are Tim Bradstreet and Ashley Wood.

We look forward to lots of shots of Anne Frank standing in front of a wall in the fog.


[Green Light]Forget your "Batman And Robin." Forget your manga. Let's have a look at this year's best selling comic. "The Sky Falls On His Head."

Looking doubtful?

It's the title of the new Asterix graphic novel, where the 35 year old Gallic hero, still from the pen of artist Uderzo, faces his greatest fear, one that has plagued his long and happy life. That of the sky falling.

There are fears that this is the last Asterix novel, especially since the cover mirrors the original cover to "Asterix The Gaul" back in the sixties. But rest assured, Belgian co-creator Uderzo has promised this is not the last.

For those unfamiliar, Asterix is a member of a tribe of Gaul in and around 50BC, the last hold outs against Julius Caesar's Roman Empire. Through 33 books, Asterix has held out with his best friend Obelix and the help of Druid Getafix's magic potion. The books, though principally for children, are sufficiently full of references to more adult works, and written with great skill that they do a Pixar and appeal to adults. Possibly one reason why the Asterix series is the best selling comic book in the world.

Here's the UK version and the US version. A large number of classic Asterix books will receive new printings in the weeks to follow.

Publication will be on October 14th, and until now, has been referred to as "Asterix New Album." Eight million copies have been already printed, waiting release, with more on their way.

By Toutatis.


[Yellow Light]Mark Waid has stated that the current "Infinite Crisis" and the surrounding darkening of comics is not part of a trend that DC intends to follow, but an end of the road to that sort of storytelling. He writes, "The good news is, and I guarantee you this, when we're on the other side of the CRISIS, those days are GONE. Just gone. We're sick to death of heroes who are not heroes, we're sick to death of darkness. Not that there's no room, not that Batman should act like Adam West, but that won't be the overall feeling. After all this stuff, after everything shakes down, we're done with heroes being dicks. No more we screwed each other and now we must pay the consequences. No, we're super-heroes and that's what we do. Batman's broken. Through no ONE person's fault, but he's a dick now. And we've been told we can fix that."

Certainly an intriguing and interesting twist from what readers have been expecting, given current DC fare.

Not all of DC's editorially influencing creatives feel entirely the same way as Waid. Grant Morrison is on Mark's side, naturally. Judd Winick and Greg Rucka take a different view. And Geoff Johns can play to both sides equally.

But with "All Star," "Identity Crisis," "Countdown," "Infinity Crisism" "One Year Gap" and "52," DC have proved themselves experts at presenting a united, unified and cohesive creative front to the public. Makes a nice change. Can only be for the good.

There are some talks about a more mature readers superhero line at DC to compliment a new direction from the rest of the DC Universe. But talks are all they are for now.


[Green Light]Babelfish.... on!

Rafael Marín is a Spanish writer and childhood friend of Carlos Pacheco. He worked briefly for Marvel as co-writer of Pacheco's "Fantastic Four" run (issues 35-54 in 2000-2002) and an "Inhumans" 4-issue miniseries (2000).

It didn't seem to go too well for him.

Last week, in an entry of his personal blog he posted one of his comic scripts.

Then, in the comments section, when a fan asks this question... "Cuando se editó en España tu etapa en los 4F junto a Carlos Pacheco y Jesús Merino ¿te planteaste redialogar todos los episodios que en Estados Unidos escribió Loeb?"

"When your FF run was reprinted in Spanish, did you think about redialogue the episodes that Jeph Loeb wrote?"

...he began to vent his frustration at length over his nightmarish experience during the FF run. Babelfish... on!

"I couldn't redialogue everything, but I fixed what I could: when they were talking nonsense in the American version, if there was room, I'd put more or less what we had originally thought. But I was limited by the space in the balloons. Sometimes I included some caption boxes inexistent in the English version.

"But the disaster was already done.

"One example: in the episodes in the Negative Zone, Reed opens a Bible and reads... a Hail Mary! In my original script, and in the Spanish version, he reads the passage that goes 'I saw a new sky and a new land' (Book of Revelations)."

And again, "To set the record straight, we didn't do the whole 3 issues that were credited to us alone. They changed some dialogues, questions asked by some characters disappeared (but not the answers given by other characters), and someone made a mess of the motivations of the Super Skrull and the factions engaged in the Krull civil war that wanted to kill him. In the end, in English, it was exactly the opposite of what was really happening.

"Then, out of the blue, they said it wasn't understandable, and they lumped Loeb upon us. He was going through a minimalist phase and tried to write comics in monosyllables.

"No one complained about the understandability of Inhumans, where I crafted the dialogue all by myself."

Once more, "And let's set the record straight: I don't blame Loeb for the chaos. It was all the editor's fault, Bobby Chase, who was a useless bore that hadn't got a clue about anything, and on top of that she was sabotaging us every two pages."

And finally, "Imagine one's face when one's writing a script that ends, voila, with the FF in the Negative Zone and the apparition of Maximus...

"And then she, the editor, the one in charge of watching the continuity of the book and the characters and all those things, tells you: Who's Maximus?

"And that one was the slightest.

"We wanted to tell a story in twelve issues. Four. We wanted one issue for each of the parallel worlds. Everything cluttered in only one issue. We didn't want Annihilus. Annihilus "because-I-say-so"... The Thing couldn't smoke. No innuendos allowed. Chaos. And never knowing what they were going to concoct next. The whims of that lady were a continuous surprise.

"The only few issues that resembled our original intent were, paradoxically, the last four, which were not drawn by Carlos or 'written' by Loeb. Among other things, because Ms. Chase was not onboard then."

Damn... what's the Spanish colloqual equivalent of "burning your bridges?"


[Green Light]After "Infinite Crisis," look for a new "Mystery In Space" series and a new "Batwoman" series. Should provide lots of wiggle room.


[Yellow Light]The "KING" teaser that Joe Quesada promoted, refers to Stephen King and Jae Lee's new horror mini-series (or series of mini-series) for Marvel Comics.

Stephen King confirmed to one Gutterati he was writing such a book for Marvel after a showing of comic-book-based "A History Of Violence" as part of the New Yorker Festival. However, come Friday and his reading/discussion, another Gutterati reports he stated he had no plans to work in comics in the future, though he thought he might like to write a graphic novel some day. And Michael Chabon offered Stephen the opportunity to write "Escapist" comics.

So who knows what's happening?


[Yellow Light]With the second "What If…" series of mini-series being solicited (though without the backstory LITG mentioned last week), and "Wha Huh" finally being printed from the first round, maybe it's time to revisit why Wha Huh was delayed all those many months.

At the time there were rumours that this was down to fear of legal action from other publishers, such as DC, over the "What If The Identity Crisis Had Happened In The Marvel Universe" piece.

Not so. The problems were purely internal and revolved around the long battle between the comics publishing side and the rest of the business, fearful that treating Marvel characters in an over the top jocular fashion was detrimental to their brands, especially when preparing movie and toy lines. For previous form, see the incredibly disappearing "Incorrigible Hulk" by Peter Bagge.

There is another "Wha Huh" volume in the works, however. Looking forward to it already...


[Green Light]The latest company to get creators all in a dizzy is Alias and Runemaster Studios, who published "Lions, Tigers & Bears" and "Gimoles." Newsarama presented a battle of the press releases that ended up in a bit of a fight on the floor.

Creator Ron Marz piped in to publisher Mike Miller's comments to say, "While you're at it, Mike, you might want to talk to Brett about paying Mike Bullock and other creators what you owe them. Just a thought." Mike's response was "We're taking care of it. Thanks for your concern, Ron."

That's Ron Marz folks, writer of the new "Cyberforce" with Pat Lee and Dream Engine on art.

One upside to "Lions, Tigers & Bears" and "Gimoles" leaving Alias is that now the gay fantasy comic art website BritDoodz.com run by Jack Lawrence and Theo Bain, is back up. The recent reduction of the website was due to a direct ultimatum from Alias regarding their rules on working with anyone who draws nudity; Jack and Theo had to either censor it, or they wouldn't publish "Gimoles." Now that all that's done with, Britdoodz is once again whole, albeit with password protection in place.

Email them for a free password.

PAGE 317

[Green Light]This week's Previews features a listing for a new 48 page graphicnovella, "Flying Friar." By me and German artist Thomas Nachlik with lettering and editing by Thomas Mauer. Page 317, from Speakeasy Comics, with a Previews Spotlight.

It came about after researching the possibilities behind the then-just-announced "1602" series by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert for Marvel. It led me to the true story of St Joseph Of Copertino, a friar in early 17th century rural Italy who demonstrated the power of flight on a number of occasions, when in prayer, as well as being able to see the glories of God's creation within a mote of dust. Set me thinking.

The "Flying Friar" is the result. A piece of historical drama, based on real accounts, with layers of modern cultural references lain over it, in the way that Umberto Eco used Sherlock Holmes and Watson, renamed and recreated in "The Name Of The Rose."

You see, Joseph's best friend is the great nephew of Martin Luther. His name is Lux.

Religion Vs Science. Authority vs The Common Man. And a flying friar. Here's a cover and some illustrated examples.

Most people's comic book shops don't order heavily on independent comics. Hell, most don't even order them for the shelf. The only realistic way you can get a copy is, in the next two weeks, tell your retailer you want a copy. However, some are loathe to do such a thing,

So this is the Rich Johnston Money Back Guarantee for LITG readers and I hope it doesn't cost me dear.

Order a copy of "Flying Friar" from your local retailer. The order code is: OCT05-3178 Then email me at lyinginthegutters@gmail.com and tell me that's what you've done (with details of your shop). Then, between Wednesday and Saturday of the week that "Flying Friar" is published, if you decide you didn't enjoy the comic you bought, I'll buy it back from you for cover price. Only one copy per applicant, and you must register your interest in this offer between today and next week's column.

A few hoops to jump through, but it's me putting my money where my mouth is. I think "Flying Friar" is fantastic, and I hope you will too.

Thanks to Kurt Busiek for the "Name Of The Rose" comparison.


[Green Light]Close Encounters in Bedford, UK, is having quite the Brit signing on October the 28th, to coincide with a 50% back issue sale. Simon Bisley, David Hine, Charlie Adlard, Alex De Campi, Simon Furnam, Gary Spencer Millidge, John Mcrea, Jamie Delano, Glenn Fabry and Liam Sharp.

Might try and make it along myself.


[Green Light]A transcript of the Alan Moore/Brian Eno interview from Radio 4's Chain Reaction.


For other comic and non-comic book related nonsense, check out the Twistblog.

Discuss this column at the Lying In The Gutters Forum.

Rich Johnston is selling his comic book life on eBay right now. Click here to see the remains of his days.

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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