Welcome to the one hundred and thirty-eighth chapter in the latest volume of the long-running gossip and rumour column for the comic book industry. Over ten years damnit! Written by British comics commentator, me, Rich Johnston, it's read by comic book professionals and readers alike. Loved and hated equally, every Monday (ish) it brings the stories not-quite-ready-for-primetime, a look behind the curtain, a sniff of the toilet seat, the worst and the best that the comics industry can inspire. Go in with your eyes open, your blinkers off and a peg on your nose.
As for the traffic lights, RED means that the story is unlikely to be true, and you should read that with that context. AMBER signifies an identifiable agenda/slant or bias in the source that may affect the work, or that the source isn't clear, or another factor that might bring the piece into doubt. GREEN means that the story feels right to me, my gut instinct says go for it. However, as is often the case, while the gist may be correct, the detail may be wrong - and in fact I may be having an off day and the whole thing may be buggered. It wouldn't be the first time.
Oscar Wilde helped give this column its title when he said "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
This week, as I returned from Los Angeles and checking email at the airport, I was reminded of another of his quotes. "There is only one thing in life worse thanbeing talked about, and that is not being talked about."
Onwards. Also writing a piece on "V For Vendetta" for Newsarama this week. Should be interesting...
Letters have gone out to DreamWave employees setting out the exact nature of the companies debts. And they're massive.
Principle secured creditors are Teddy and Anne Lee on $141,000/ I understand these are Pat and Roger Lee's parents. However, it appears they were assigned that amount of security for $35,000 in January. All legal and above board. But the likelihood of owed money trickling down to unsecured creators much further down the list as a result is considered very slim indeed.
Also, these letters are dated February the 9th. What this means for previous declarations or receovership/bankruptcy is unknown.
Another interesting note under Dreamwave assets are vehicles - $89,000. Porsches don't come cheap folks.
Still, there are plenty of opportunities at Dream Engine for young keen bright eyed chaps and chapesses out there.
Or maybe just give Devil's Due a call. The Hasbro Transformers license decision is due this week. It really could go in a variety of directions. Devil's Due are favourites but they played hardball at the end. If another publisher give Hasbro what they want, they may go with it.
Strangely I discovered I was staying just a couple of blocks down from Top Cow, at the Beverly Pavilion. Which put me in the perfect position to get to the bottom of those rumours about Marc Silvestri's workload.
Turns out Marc broke his leg towards the end of last year and went into surgery. The resultant pins and cast prevented the Image founder and Top Cow Publisher from getting to his drawing board - at a time when his pencilling skills were in more demand than any time since Image started.
This led to fears expressed by Top Cow staffers, that eventually made their way to me through the LA grapevine, about Marc's ability to fulfil his commitments. However, of late, he's been back in the studio regularly working away, without delay, and "Hunter-Killer," by Mark Waid and Marc Silvestri, is expected to be Top Cow's killer app.
I didn't get too close to the studio however. Even in his current state, I didn't want to risk the chance that Marc could hunt me down like the dog I am. Probably still got those vicious crutches to hand as well…
The other Top Cow line I heard while I was out there was an old one from Marc's mouth. "Never name a comic book publisher when you're drunk…"
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN
In the old days, Avatar were known for publishing titty books and horror comics. Now they're known for publishing titty books and books by Brits that no one else would publish. Thank goodness.
But with the acquisition of Brian Pulido's line, and an exploitation of Alan Moore's horror comics, Avatar were clearly in the process of ramping up their old horror rep, especially in line of IDW's recent swamping of that territory.
Now the other shoe has dropped.
Avatar have the licenses to the New Line Cinema movie monsters. Written by Brian Pulido, in full colour, they are "Nightmare on Elm Street" drawn by Juan Jose Ryp, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" by Jacen Burrows and "Friday the 13th" by Mike Wolfer. In the full X-rated tradition of the originals.
Have some solicitation cover art.